A Washington state teacher acknowledged ordering an eight-year-old student to unclog a toilet with his bare hands, and the boy’s parents say the educator deserves more than a reprimand.
In an interview, the boy’s parents Artie and Lisa Adams said they learned of the Nov. 6 incident at Scootney Springs Elementary School in the small, central Washington city of Othello when they asked their son about his day at school.
The third-grader said he reported the clog and teacher Brent Taylor told him to clear it with his bare hands.
The parents complained. The principal reprimanded Taylor, warned him that any further such incidents would lead to his termination, and ordered the 23-year teaching veteran to review a hygiene course.
Othello Superintendent George Juarez told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the punishment was made in consultation with the school district’s lawyer and was appropriate considering the teacher’s record and contract protections.
While the pupil reached into the toilet and pulled out a couple strands of paper, the teacher himself ultimately reached in barehanded and pulled out the clog, which consisted “only of paper,” Juarez said.
Juarez called the teacher’s actions “very poor professional judgment” and said the district regrets what happened.
“The child had flushed the toilet several times, and it didn’t go down,” Juarez said. “I am sure that the best judgment would have been to call our custodian to handle the matter.”
A message left for Taylor at the school was not immediately returned.
The district granted a request from the boy’s family to transfer him to another school.