I grew up in a small outport where fishing was the mainstay for most families. The odor from rotting fish, bait or whatever was always around. Dad would throw his cold wet gloves at me and ask me what I smelled, it was the repugnant odor of rotten herring, but the right answer was money!
The story out of Twillingate that a teacher had sprayed a 10-year old with Febreze after his lunch of fried fish disgusts me. The mother told CBC News that "she made her son Christian a meal of fried capelin
Thursday for lunch. When Christian went back to school, she said, the
students started teasing and laughing at him. His teacher put him in the hall for a period — then sprayed him with Febreze."
There are a bunch of ways to look at this. The teacher missed a valuable teaching moment where she could have explained to the class that it was not fair to bully the child. Instead, she chose to single out the child and make a torturous situation even worse, by making him sit out in the hall for a period, followed by a dousing with a chemical designed to mask odors in fabric.
Some people are saying it is the mothers fault for sending him to school smelling like fish. Give me a frigging break. Odors on clothing is a common enough thing. I am sure there are kids in that class that came home from lunch smelling of garlic, stale smoke, french fry grease and hamburgers. That is okay, but fish, well that is a horrible offensive odor. If the odor was overwhelming, or some kid in the class had a fish allergy, the child in question's mother could have been called to collect him. If he was close enough to school to walk back and forth for lunch, he could have showered and changed his clothing and been back at his desk in jig time.
I have some friends that work in slaughterhouses and one of them told me that he keeps a bottle Febreze in his truck to kill the stench before he goes home. That of course is his choice. No one asked the boy's mother if it was alright to apply a chemical.
However, if it was my child, I would have reacted angrily as well. The issue of contributing to the teasing of the boy is as serious as spraying him with a chemical. The teacher might as well have put a dunce hat on the poor kid and stuck him in the corner. Just imagine for a moment what impact this event would have on any child!
The teacher, the principal and the board need to rethink there approach to this issue, and offer the child an apology. As well, the RCMP should be asked to conduct a anti-bulling lecture at the school, with the teacher in question sitting with the children.
I can only suspect that the Febrez was applied with the best of intentions. A
spokesperson for the Canadian Safe Schools
Network, president Stu Auty, says the teacher probably meant no harm and
was trying to help the situation by eliminating the source of the
teasing. No doubt that was the situation.
Another issue that has not been raised is the teachers alleged reaction to the mother. I have a lot of friends that are teachers in rural Newfoundland. One of the toughest things they face as members of the community is that parents feel it is okay to call them at home. Can you imagine getting a call from an irate parent, at home? The parent should have dealt with the principal and the board. What gives any parent the right to hassle a teacher after hours and outside the workplace?
All for all, I have no doubt the teacher meant no harm, but an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of the cure.
We all make mistakes and learn