Kids' Health

Cafe AmyS
Is it ever appropriate for a teacher to touch a student's buttocks?
January 26, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I saw this in The Stir - Do you think this teacher should have been fired for what happened?

'Butt Massaging' Fourth Grade Teacher Should Have Known Better

Posted by Kiri Blakeley on January 25, 2013 

When you think of ways to break the ice with someone new, there's telling a joke. There's sharing a story or pictures of your pets. And then there's -- massaging someone's butt? A teacher found out the hard way that perhaps this isn't the best idea of how to break the ice -- especially when the butt you're massaging is that of a student. In front of the whole class.

Brooklyn teacher Celestine Sam was fired after reportedly bringing a male student up to the front of the class during an "icebreaker routine" and giving him a massage. And then having him reciprocate. And reportedly that massage extended to each other's rumps. Oy vey.

The exercise was apparently inspired by the teacher's time in a workshop of potential missionaries. Her father defends her by saying, "It wasn’t justified what they did to her. All she was trying to do was break the ice -- she didn’t touch anybody."

But a judge disagreed and ruled that Sam "exhibited poor judgment by engaging in an activity involving physical contact with a male student’s buttocks."

If this did happen, the fourth grade teacher showed incredibly bad judgment. What on earth could she have been thinking?! The boy, who was 9, was “embarrassed and upset during the massage," according to the judge's report.

Perhaps she just lightly patted him on the butt? Still wrong. Perhaps she didn't really touch his butt but just massaged him? Still wrong. If this was a male teacher who touched a female student in that way at all, there'd be all kinds of outrage.

There's a whole list of things teachers might have been able to get away with at one point, but probably couldn't now. A couple from my experience: A teacher who screamed at me and told me to get out of the room. I was made to stand in the hallway while other classes exited and all the kids laughed at me. Can only imagine the lawsuit I'd have today for "extreme emotional distress."

Oh, and there was the time a teacher, talking about childbirth, said, "Women are really stupid. Childbirth would be so easy if they'd just exercise throughout their pregnancy." Man, what I couldn't do with that intel today.

I feel sympathy for teachers who are stuck trying to simultaneously teach, bond with, control, and discipline their classrooms. But touching a kid in any kind of manner that could be misconstrued as sexual is just asking for trouble.

Do you have any memories of teachers doing stuff that would get them fired today? Should this teacher have been fired?


  • frndlyfn
    January 26, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    She should have known that no matter what she learned in a workshop for other purposes.  This type of touch is inappropriate towards a student.

  • TerriC
    by TerriC
    January 26, 2013 at 5:33 PM
    I have never had experience with a teacher doing anything like this. As a parent, I would not be okay with this at all.
  • HotMommaStout
    January 27, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Weird and creepy, no matter the intentions!!

  • TigerofMu
    January 27, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    What? No way!  Absolutely inappropriate.  The only reason I can see for touching a student's rear end is if you are an infant or FLL teacher and have to change a diaper.  Which is by no means fondling or massaging!

  • Vertical15
    January 27, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I had a principle grab me around the neck and drag me through a hallway and down the steps to the office.  My mom even said I had bruises.  Why they never did anything about that, I'll never know.

    I think this teacher should be fired, yes.  I wouldn't allow my children to be touched like that by their teachers.

  • new_mom808
    January 27, 2013 at 5:43 PM

     I cant imagine what could have made her think that was appropriate in any way.

  • sunshine86912
    January 28, 2013 at 4:50 PM

     ....what?! LOL seriously...they thought it would be okay...?

  • egyptian_mommy
    January 28, 2013 at 6:46 PM
    No, not ok. Laying a hand on a shoulder, arm, head, fine. Massages or touching a student's rear, no.
  • batjmom
    by batjmom
    January 29, 2013 at 5:17 AM
    No! No way ever appropriate
  • copperked
    January 30, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    She should not have been massaging him, period. Or having him massage her. Some schools now have no contact rules for their teachers to try to prevent this kind of extremely bad judgement.

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