Gilbert teachers reprimanded for harassing student because of his allergic reactions


Oak Tree Elementary School

GILBERT —  Meet a 9-year-old in the 4th grade at Oak Tree Elementary in the Gilbert Public School District. We’ll call him Zack in order to protect his identity.

Zack is a pleasant child, whose parents sent him to school every day, with the faith that he was learning and growing. Zack, who is described as a good kid with a big heart by everyone who knows him, is a football player and an overall athlete.

Like many children, Zack suffers from allergies, sneezing repeatedly with the need to often blow his nose in class.

Zack’s parents were surprised to find they had misplaced their faith in a school system and teachers, who harassed their child.

Teachers act like children

Many children feel embarrassed to blow their nose in class, but Zack’s parents had assured him it would be OK. They did not imagine that Zack’s physical health challenge would become a source of amusement to teachers.

Zack’s school requires 4th grade students to travel to three different classrooms for instruction in order to prepare them for the upcoming middle school routine of changing classes. For reasons only a psychiatrist or dark-hearted person could understand, two of Zack’s three teachers found his health condition to be a source of humor rather than one that required compassion and understanding.

As a result, they proceeded to use Zack’s condition as fodder for their sick humor mill. Not the kind of dark humor confined to the teacher’s lounge, but in their classrooms in front of all of the other students.

These two teachers made a laughingstock of a 4th grader.

The first incident occurred just a month into the 2018/2019 school year, when one of Zack’s 4th grade teachers began denying him bathroom privileges. Zack was assigned to her classroom from the end of the lunch period until the end of the day.

Nearly every day, Zack was in great distress by the time his last class ended. He would beg his mother to hurry home.

“Mom, please drive faster so we can get home and I can use the bathroom! Hurry!” the 4th-grader would say.

When Zack’s parents advised the school administrator about the situation and their concerns, Zack’s lot improved a little, but not for long, according to his parents.

Although Zack’s parents were medically treating his allergies, his condition grew increasingly severe as the fall season set in. So did the mistreatment by his teachers.

As an example of what was the boy experienced as a form of torture, Zack’s math teacher created and presented an extra credit graphing assignment, focusing solely on Zack and his health needs.

The graph, entitled “Blow Graph,” had Zack’s name at the top of the paper. It was presented, completed and turned in during class time.

According to Zack, the teacher exclaimed to the class, “I spend my private time at home creating these extra credit assignments for you so you better appreciate them!”

This was intended to be a secret assignment, to be completed by students in class. Even though his teacher did not mean for the students to take the assignment home, Zack’s ended up in his backpack and he gave it to his parents.

During this same time frame, another of Zack’s teachers mocked him every time he blew his nose in class. This prompted fellow students to point at Zack and laugh.

This was the final straw for Zack’s parents. Even though they deeply believed teachers were to be trusted, they decided to address both female teachers personally.

When she arrived to the school to speak to the teachers, Zack’s mother experienced the teachers’ unprofessional and abusive behavior for herself. Sadly, she now completely understood what Zack had been enduring every day of the week and decided to take her concerns to the Gilbert District Offices.

Teach your parents well

In the end, two of the three teachers were reprimanded and issued suspensions for several day without pay.

An administrator review of teacher #1’s action reads in part:

● You failed in making the well-being of students the fundamental value of all decision making and action.

● You failed to perform assigned duties to a generally acceptable standard.

● You failed to make decisions based on the best interests of students.

● You failed to demonstrate positive and appropriate relationships with students, parents, staff members, and others.

● You failed to keep employee/student relationships that shall reflect mutual respect and shall support the dignity of the entire profession and educational process. Employees shall relate to students in a manner that maintains behavior consistent with community standards and acceptable professional conduct.

There is so much more to Zack’s story, but it should suffice to say that he and his family endured the pain of politely listening to indifferent or hapless administrators offering countless denials and excuses. But eventually they were heard and their concerns were acknowledged.

After coming face-to-face with cruel and/or disinterested educators, Zack’s parents eventually removed him from the district’s schools.

Zack was forced out, but the abusive teacher was not.

Zack is enrolled in a charter school and while he is struggling with the more rigorous academics, he is making progress thanks to the school’s professional educators and a private counselor.

We can learn a lot from Zack. Some teachers get it, some don’t. Some teachers are professionals, some are not. There are those who understand their power and influence and some who abuse it. The sad part is that these teachers went out of their way to ignore the Arizona State Standards and hurt a child.

Parents may visit their child’s school and ask to see a teacher-to-child bullying policy. If they do not have one, please demand that they create one. The profession no longer polices itself, so parents must.

Teachers are trusted and highly regarded professionals, who take on the awesome and often thankless task of educating children. Parents send their children off to school with the confidence that their child is going to get an education that will prepare them for a bright future.

Essential trust is what allows them to send their kids off to school. Parents still have to worry about their kids being bullied by other kids, but they know that there will be a trusted adult to protect their child. What happens when the bullies turn out to be the teachers?

Arizona Mathematics Standards: Fourth Grade

Gilbert Public Schools District Web Site

Jennifer Leon Hill is a certified Arizona teacher. She is the founder of Teachers Parents Advocates United (TPAU).


  1. The school could have easily fired these teachers, if they wanted to. There was more than enough sufficient evidence proving harm and premeditated motive; more than mentioned too. Shame on the school. I really believe charges could have been filed on the teachers as well. Would law enforcement please revisit this? To the parents, please sue the school into the ground!

  2. I feel bad for these students that have suffered under lousy teachers. Back in the late fifties I had two bad teachers that made fun of my name and one because I was struggling with math.
    That is why I sacrificed and sent my child to a private christian school where we attended church, then in high school to a free great charter school, Sonoran Science. From there she graduated from the U of A, Eller college of business.
    If you want good teachers drive an old car, don’t spend a lot on clothes and vacations and send them to private schools, there are scholarships to be had. I learned early that private was the way to go, as a parent you carry a lot more weight.

  3. This article has been written by someone who publicly admitted she couldn’t handle the stress of teaching and quit. Her vendetta started when she posted on social media that she wanted to question students during class time about the impact of the RedForEd movement even though it was clearly defined by the district that teachers were not to speak to students about it (As to avoid any perceived indoctrination). She violated this and was removed from her position. She then claimed the district discriminated against her despite the clear (and very public) attempt at inserting her personal bias in the classroom. I would encourage anyone reading this article, to ask themselves if they trust someone’s judgement whose sole mission is to get revenge for what she erroneously feels was a grave injustice.

  4. Please don’t refer to teachers as professionals that distinction went by the wayside decades ago. Losers go into the teaching business now because it has the easiest curriculum. They have become nothing but union thugs indoctrinating our kids. GET YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF ALL GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS FROM K thru University.

  5. There are two sides to every story and we all know that everything that is written in the media is not always true. Isn’t that the way it is in the world these days? Did anyone think that this story could be blown out of proportion? How dare anyone lay blame and put another person’s reputation and well-being at stake on social media when all of the facts are not presented. “Bullying” is in no way acceptable, of course, but, today’s society overuses the word way too much. This may or may not have been the case here, but everyone should not just jump to conclusions based on a story you hear from a person you don’t know.

  6. Probably the same teachers riding around with the RED FOR ED stickers. Yet can’t even perform their jobs correctly. So sad 😔

  7. God Bless Zach and his family. I know because I personally went through this crap.. My son is doing great but because his family stood by him 100%.. So Zach lift up your precious head and go forward and remember you are the one most important in this situation and ignorance will not succeed but you will… ❤️✌🏽

  8. Why is this remotely shocking to anyone? Your most important task in life is to be a good parent and raise good children who become great adults, but all too often, life often gets in the way of living and latch key kids soon get put on auto pilot. Schools are often reduced to little more then multitasking centers focusing on daycare with the hopes that “some” educational value will be obtained as well while parents are free to work free of parental responsibility.
    While the emotionally defective and sadistic teachers in this example are clearly out of line and should have thier teaching certificates revoked and be fired. “Zacks” parents, like the majority of others are not free of complicity from thier lack of aggressive involvement in thier child’s well-being. The first time “Zack” related his urinary distress his mom should have been all over it raising hell at the school.
    If my kids were ever mistreated the school got an earful. If it didn’t improved I would go up the food chain until it improved.
    In the end Gilbert schools finally stopped cover for and instead reprimanded the offending teachers, and ” Zach” was finally moved to a better school. But I think while we wonder what went wrong, we should really focus on why it took so long to fix. Hopefully “Zach” isn’t too traumatized from his exposure to sadistic asshats and continues furthering his education. It’ll have to last him a lifetime so he’ll want the best.

    The Oracle

  9. And then there are the teachers who willingly indoctrinate their students to actually believing that unless the Green New Deal is passed that their world would be gone in a mere 12 years.

  10. Just part of the new breed of teachers that value money more than the student. That was very visible last year wasn’t it. Granted not all teachers are like these idiots, but there are a lot of them in the profession that are. They should have been fired, but the administrators have no balls, just like last year when they went on strike.

    • Yes, they should have been fired on the spot no telling how many children have been bullied by these teachers before… This should not be acceptable by no means.. Bullying needs to be stopped by everyone including teachers.. And not all children take advantage of the fact of using the rest room but because one bad apple or many bad apples take advantage then the child who really needs to go gets picked on… So the school district needs to take charge and fix this problem.. I’m on the child’s side because my son was bullied pretty bad by a teacher and a principal .. NowI too did not tolerate this unprofessionalism.. I went over both of there heads and went to the school superintendent.. All got it taken care of because i was ready to sue the school district…Children come first!!!! And Teachers are to be a great example and not a poor one… ❤️

  11. As a retired teacher, I offer my sympathy to this child and his parents. I do want to point out that 4th graders are certainly capable of taking advantage of classroom procedures to “get a laugh” and disrupt the learning environment, though I’m certainly not accusing Zack of this. I also wonder if the teachers in question are fully trained and certified or are part of the growing population of marginally trained, alternatively certified individuals that districts have hired to combat the growing shortage of highly qualified teachers.

  12. I love teachers. I love peace officers. The next time you generalize about all peace officers based upon the misconduct of a very few, remember that our beloved teachers should not be maligned in general because of the misconduct of a very few, nor should our peace officers.

    • The heading implies all teachers in Gilbert but article refers to “these teachers” and “some.”

      • There were TWO Gilbert teachers who engaged n this abominable behavior so the headline was not misleading. Only someone with their own agenda would read the headline to mean ALL Gilbert teachers were involved In the abuse of this child. And yes, the treatment of this child is abuse and the punishment is no where near severs enough. The Gilbert Public School District sucks if it thinks the punishment of these hooligans calling themselves teachers is appropriate.

      • Only in the mind of an idiot can the omission of the word “all” be construed to imply the inclusion of the word “all”. The headline denotes that more than one teacher was involved, which was the fact.

    • My children went to gps for 5 years and were not allowed to use bathrokm…humilated and shamed on an IEP my son with cp didnt want services or be known to have. I looked at charter schools as both of my kids didnt want to go…such bullying oss true and on PTSO i will tell you…TEACHERS GET RESPECT IF THEY GIVE RESPECT. I will tell you a very large amount of teachers do treat children in gilbert badly…My daughter witnessed a chair being thrown at a child and children grabbed…not my children thow…GPS made them scared and ahy and they never asked for help rarely as they feared shame or a teacher making them feel stupid…there so overworked and underpaid ect. Ect..BUT MY KIDS BARELY LEARNED A THING IN GPS FOR ALL THE WASTED TIME WITH THEM POMPUOUS TEACHER WHO GOT TO GO ON VACATUONS AND WRITE IT OFF AS EDUCATUONAL EXPENSES? PLEASE DO NOT BE IGNORANT AND TRUSTING AND GET INTO YOUR CHILDS SCHOOL AND FIND OUT THE TRUTH!!! Were in Chandler district now yet worse bullying at Casteel High and CTA Freedom…but with K12 our son was able to catch up and we are transfering him to Basha High soon as his sister is their and they are amazing and the staff is caring and respectful and approachable and teachers answer rmails and texts even by students and my daughter really loves it other than so early! You have to shop schools in east valley like college for your child…starting in preschool in order to find the right fit and if not in boundary…you must drive and sit 2 hrs a day in pick up and drop off lines.. yet…wi& the highest syicide rate in the natuon of youth in east valley…YOU HAD BETTER BELIEVE THE SACRIFICE OF MY CAREER AND MY LIFE FOR THAT OF MY CHILD WAS WORTH IT…but i have about 6 more months till my oldest can take over my job and drive himself and siblings to and from school. Not every east valley school is the same in Gilbert and Chander!!!! Riggs Elementary is so amazing…every teacher passionate and Mrs. Weinberg know every student and parents name and teuly cares and is out on the heat or rain every afternoon a parent pick up and I had never seen or met such commitment or caring in any of my kids 6 public schools that in conclusion…I agree only that their are some that do care…and that understand bullying and shaming is so cruel and that dont turn a blind eye to it…some. But when a teacher complains they jave too many students at Casteel and doesnt read a childs 504 to know je cant use his left hand and then shames him on a class of 60 plus for not using his left on a keyboard them gices him an F in the class because he refuses to do anything pis shaming and the parents are not told till end of year referal to an IEP with color coded tests!!! Iep violations. So criminal…by some teachers 2 times at Casteel. You have to ask questuons and go to meetings at these schools to find out the truth and as around…this article was one out of so many hundreds of criminal violations by the abuse of power by the administrations of some schools and teachers…their should be fines and pay cuts to these teachers and the money should go to the families hatmed as ive not been able to work or get paid in 12 uears for my time with the schools! Meetings? They get paid and i do not because that is the way it is…

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