Summer Larsen's students' faces written on for not meeting reading goals

9:11 PM, Nov 14, 2012   |    comments
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By Andrew Reed

Declo, ID (KMVT/CNN) - Some parents in Idaho say an elementary school teacher is encouraging bullying.

They say their children had their faces painted by other kids because they didn't reach their reading goals.

Fourth graders in Summer Larsen's class at Delco Elementary School needed to meet a reading goal of 10 points. If those students didn't meet those points, parents say their kids were punished by fellow classmates.

"Not only was my son punished with bullying, but the other students were rewarded with bullying. They are being taught that bullying is okay and that there is nothing wrong with this," said one parent who didn't want to be named.

Larsen has 21 students in her fourth grade class, and nine of those students didn't meet their accelerated reading scores. The students who didn't meet the scores had two options: either get their faces drawn on by other students, or miss recess.

Six of those students decided to get their faces drawn on and three decided to skip recess.

"The class had a discussed their accelerated reading goals and trying to put together some incentives for students to achieve those goals. One of those incentives was who met their goals would be able to paint the face of those kids who didn't meet their goal or those children who didn't meet their goal could also miss a recess," said Superintendent Gaylen Smyer.

"If you ask any 10-year old or fourth grade students I get my faced color on or I don't get to go to recess, they're going to pick get my face colored on. They didn't understand what was going to happen to them later," said the unidentified parent.

While many parents are disturbed, others believe the teacher did nothing wrong.

"I'm just one of many parents who stand totally behind Summer Larsen and her teaching methods and what she does. We think she is a wonderful teacher and we want to see her stay at Declo for many years," said parent Carla Christensen.

The superintendent explains that they take parent concerns seriously. The incident is currently under investigation.

The teacher was put on leave last week, but the superintendent says she's back in the classroom now.


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