Abuse charge a "wake up call" for teacher
There's clearly much more to say about corporal punishment than can be captured in one smallish newspaper piece. Among the things that fell out of the article because of space limitations was my interview with Angelo Parodi, a fifth grade teacher at Eaton Elementary.
His experience is a reminder that the 220 reports we described in today's paper are only allegations -- until DCPS or the police can say how many were ultimately substantiated.
Parodi recounts the following: He was teaching second grade at Meyer Elementary in 2006 when he had a boy in his class with what he called "a history of opposition." The student's mother gave Parodi her cell phone number and encouraged him to call whenever there was a problem. One day, after the boy repeatedly refused to do a simple math problem, Parodi pulled out his phone.
"I said, 'In two minutes you're either going to be working or I'll call your mom,' " Parodi recalled. The student finally started to work.
The next day a school counselor came to Parodi and said the boy's parents were waiting to see him. He had told his parents that Parodi had choked him.
"Do I look insane?" Parodi said he asked the counselor.
Parodi said investigators interviewed children in the class and eventually told him that his story matched those of the students. The experience left him with a new sense of caution about his interactions with kids.
"You're extremely vulnerable to people who can make these accusations," he said. "It was a wake up call."
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