Students failing to meet reading goals punished with face painting

DECLO, Idaho (KBOI) - Some parents are outraged in Cassia County after they say their students experienced principal approved teacher bullying.

The incident occurred at Declo Elementary. A teacher allowed fourth graders to paint the faces of fellow classmates who didn't reach their reading goals.

The Cassia School District confirmed to KBOI 2News that if a child in the class didn't reach their reading goal, they could either miss recess or have their face painted on. Students were allowed to use markers to draw mustaches, goatees and names on the face of slower readers in the class.

"Not only was my son punished with bullying but the other students were rewarded with bullying," a parent who's son's face was painted on said. "They are being taught that bullying is OK and that there's nothing wrong with this."

The principal of the school says she knew about the drawings. The superintendent of the district says the fourth graders had a say in the decision.

"The class had discussed their accelarated reading goals and tried to put together incentives," said Gaylen Smyer, Cassia superintendent. "One of the incentives is that those who met their goal would be able to paint the face of those who didn't meet their goal."

There are 24 students in this particular fourth grade class. Nine of the students did not reach the reading goals and six opted for the face painting option. The other three skipped recess.

Parents seem to be divided on the issue. Some say this is an unfair teaching tactic while others are standing behind the school.

"I'm one of many parents who stand by the teacher's methods and what she does," said Carla Christensen, a local mom. "We think she's a wonderful teacher and we want to see her stay at Declo for many years to come."

Smyer said the school district is taking the bullying accustations seriously and the incident is under investigation.

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