An Arkansas teacher has sparked national outrage and numerous student complaints after she began bringing her newborn to class and breastfeeding the baby when she was suppose to be teaching.
Several students have complained at the Poyen, Arkansas school after their teacher returned from maternity leave with her newborn baby in tow. One student told local reporters that it was “a constant distraction” and that her breastfeeding in front of the class was causing disruptions, especially with a room full of adolescent boys, the student said. The principal of the Arkansas school refused to comment to local news station KARK, saying only that this was a “personal matter” despite the numerous complaints and the national outrage.
Another student reportedly said that they could “constantly hear the baby crying” and agreed that the breastfeeding during class was also a constant disruption.
One student snapped a picture of the unnamed teacher and posted the photo to facebook after their complaints went unanswered. Another reportedly captured video of the class on their cell phone where the baby’s loud cries can be heard. This has sparked outrage and criticism across the country and is renewing the debate on teacher responsibility in the classroom.
In 2013 Arkansas schools received a C- on the 19th edition of the Report Card on American Education and a D+ for adult outcomes and ranked 45th in the nation. In 2003 statistics for Arkansas showed that 14 percent of their high school students were “lacking basic prose literacy skills” and the most recent census data shows that only 19.8 percent of those in the state have achieved a Bachelor’s degree or higher. While some students, naturally, welcome anything that distracts a teacher and lessens their work load in class, given the current state of education, many others are raising the question whether or not it is fair for this teacher to take away time from her students during class, time that she is being paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Many students and parents alike have commented to local news and on social media that having a newborn in class is a distraction and have also expressed frustration at the fact that their complaints have gone unanswered and their needs cannot be adequately met in a classroom where the teacher is too busy breastfeeding and tending to a newborn to properly do her job. After the recent national debate on teacher responsibility was launched by the controversial cover on “bad teachers” by TIME Magazine, incidents like this, some say, only serve to fuel the fire.
At a time when teachers everywhere have been coming under fire for inappropriate behavior, poor outcomes, and failing to meet student needs, this is serving as just another example for many critics of why the American education system desperately needs an overhaul.
Do you think it is appropriate or should the school respond to the student’s complaints and hold the teacher accountable?
[Image: Arkansas Matters]