Digital recorder catches teacher

February 26, 2008 4:36:49 PM PST
Local parents armed their child with a tape recorder and sent the youngster off to class. They say they did it to help her, but what was recorded has them demanding action from HISD. At home, four-year-old Megan is like any little girl her age. She likes to play and loves her kitten, Jiminy. It's what was happening at school at Memorial Elementary that has had her parents puzzled.

"She's been having behavioral problems in class," said Diana Mijares. "The behavioral problems that were described are not things she does at home."

So after months of wondering why, Diana and Oscar Mijares spent 50 bucks on a digital recorder, put it in Megan's backpack, turned it on and sent it to school. The following is just a sampling of what they heard.

"Nobody are you good for. You're just a bad kid. When are you going to be a good kid? Do you think any other class acts like this? No. You're just mean to your teacher and I'm going to be mean to you, too. Everybody understand that? You're mean to me so I get to be mean to you."

"Ya'll are just stupid kids. I swear to God"

"I was just in shock," said Oscar Mijares. "I couldn't believe it."

The couple was stunned. This was a veteran teacher talking to 4 and 5-year-olds and sometimes singling them out.

"You don't hang out in the hall, Camille, and you don't act stupid," the tape continued.

They took the recording to the principal who in a statement to us called the comments, "Reprehensible and totally unacceptable." He writes he immediately removed the teacher from the classroom and reassigned her as the investigation continues.

But Megan's parents say the district has an obligation to keep this from continuing.

"I really don't think she shouldn't be teaching anymore," said Diana.

Megan's parents don't think this was an isolated incident. They believe their daughter's behavioral problems are in part because of the way the teacher speaks to her. We are not naming that teacher because this is all still being investigated. She did not respond to my request for comment.

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