Former Kindergarten Teacher Faces Jail Time After Directing Students To Hit A ‘Bully’

Teaching an anti-bullying lesson by bullying a 6-year-old child? Flawed logic at its finest. Image by Bob Owens, San Antonio Express-News @BeaumontEnterprise

Teaching an anti-bullying lesson by bullying a 6-year-old child? Flawed logic at its finest. Image by Bob Owens, San Antonio Express-News @BeaumontEnterprise

A former San Antonio kindergarten teacher got a harsh lesson in why you shouldn’t be a bully.

Cynthia Ambrose, 44, has been convicted of official oppression following a May 2012 incident at Salinas Elementary School. The former teacher was asked by another teacher, Barbara Ramirez, for help dealing with an incident where a student hit another student. Ambrose’s response? Line up the other students and direct them to hit the 6-year-old so that he can feel what it’s like to be bullied.

Ramirez testified that the hitting “started out as a pat” until Ambrose directed the students to “hit him harder.” Ramirez testified because she was given immunity, but she initially kept mum about the incident, not telling school officials for weeks. The boy told his siblings, but they didn’t believe him. A jury did, however, convicting Ambrose, who now faces a possible one year in prison as a result. Even the principal of the school, Jeffrey Large, said, “I’ve heard of teachers using excessive force, but never putting students against other┬ástudents.”

I remember a time when I was in first grade. One of my classmates kept irritating the teacher, although I can’t remember why. He wasn’t bothering me. But out of the blue, she came stomping up to him, lifted him out of his seat, and slapped him squarely on the bottom. Scared me shitless.

That was during a time when teachers could ask parental permission to spank errant children. My parents gave permission and were quick to let me know. They used it as a deterrent against poor behavioral choices. It didn’t exactly work. I wasn’t a troublemaker, per se, but I certainly knew how to find trouble and it knew how to find me.

Times, however, have changed, and so has our thinking. I have never been asked if I’d allow my children to be spanked at school and I wouldn’t give consent if I were. What this teacher did not only overstepped her boundaries as a teacher, but overstepped her boundaries as an adult. Teaching an anti-bullying lesson by bullying a 6-year-old child? Flawed logic at its finest.

The question I have to ask is: If she did this once, how many times has she done it before?