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Schoolteacher thinks left-handedness is evil!

We had an email recently from Club Member Mary that rather shocked us.  She said…

“I am very disturbed by a news report of a 4 year old being forced to write with his right hand.  This thought process is archaic.
Here is a link about a 4 year old being forced to write with his right hand.   
Be outraged for this child.  I guess some Oklahoma educators are still using 1815 methods regarding left-handed people.  Hopefully, this will not cause him to have academic problems.  To me, this is a form of discrimination.”

You can see the full story and a video of the news report about it using the link above, but briefly:

4 year old left-hander Zayde came home from school one day and surprised his mum Alisha, also left-handed, by writing with his right hand, not his left as normal.  She asked him why and he raised his left and said “teacher says this one's bad”.  She sent the teacher a note asking what was going on and got a strong response.  The teacher sent back a copy of an article calling left-handedness “unlucky”, “evil”, and “sinister” and adding for good measure that “for example, the devil is often portrayed as left-handed”.

Left-handedness evil article extract

We found the original article this came from here:
http://pediatriceducation.org/2011/02/28/when-will-i-know-which-hand-she-will-use/

It looks like the article referred to is only making statements of what people have considered to be true in the past, but the teacher has totally misinterpreted it, or coloured it with her own beliefs, to think some of those things are actually TRUE now and she needs to force children to change hands and educate their parents!  That is clearly a very bad thing to do and on the face of it this person has no place in the teaching profession.

Alisha couldn’t believe it.  She said “It breaks my heart for him because someone actually believes that, believes my child is evil because he's left-handed, it's crazy”.

She went to the school superintendent at Oakes Elementary in Okemah, Oklahoma, USA with the article but “there was no suspension of any kind. There was basically nothing done about this teacher”, Alisha says, “She told them she thought I needed literature on it”.

Zayde will likely be transferred to another class just two months into the school year as a result of this.

NewsChannel 4 called the school and were told the superintendent was out and were transferred us to the principal. She said she’s aware of the situation and the district is investigating then hung up before they could ask any questions.

Alisha is going to file a formal complaint with the Oklahoma Board of Education and we will try to find out what happens.

UPDATE

This story generated a huge amount of interest and you can see all the comments we received below.

The update is that this teacher had apparently done the same thing to at least one other young child and after her parents complained as well the teacher was forced to resign.
http://kfor.com/2015/09/25/oklahoma-pre-k-teacher-accused-in-left-handed-controversy-resigns/


 

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167 comments on “Schoolteacher thinks left-handedness is evil!
  1. Dr Billy Levin says:

    Unfortunately ignorance regarding left handedness prevails in many schools throughout the modern world. As a leftie I had to put up with it as a child. Today as a specialist in the field I still have to put up with it when children are referred to me. One day one hopes all will know what science has known for 50 years about brain functions and left handedness.

  2. Chris says:

    I am left handed, and unfortunately I fell victim of this evil-ness. Before even going to primary school, my kindergarten teacher forced me to write with my right hand… I’m 29 years old, and I still remember her holding my right hand and really forcing me to learn to write that way. Maybe it’s also a bit my fault for not mentioning this to my parents, but, hey, I was five years old. Now I can not express how jealous I am when I see left-handed people writing with their left hand, as intended by nature.

  3. Lora Johnson says:

    I started first grade in 1957. My teacher saw me trying to write with my paper turned in the direction righties use. She simply turned my paper the other direction. I realzed much later that she was ahead of the times, as many people my age had teachers who tried to switch their handedness.

  4. Judy Kuhel says:

    When I was in first grade in 1948, in California, my teacher kept moving my pencil into my right hand. When I began to complain of stomach aches to avoid going to school, my mother, (a righty) questioned me about it. When I finally confessed, she visited the teacher, and I never had another problem after that. My father was ambidextrous, but favored his left, which worked to his advantage in sports, and I think my mother informed the teacher of that fact.

  5. Dr Billy Levin says:

    Unfortunately many lefties have ADHD which presents as a behavior problem and a talent for first doing or saying before thinking. This often gets them into trouble. 40% of people in jail have undiadnosed and unreeated ADHD. At an international medical conference an American expert suggsted if we do not wake up we will be incarcerating people with an inherited neurological condition, instead of diagnosing and treating them.

  6. Karen Mader says:

    Because I am left-handed, when I started teaching I tried to help a boy who was left handed hold the book at the other slant to help him. I had a manuel that showed how to help left-handed children hold the book for cursive writing. (at the opposite slant). This was in 1962. I was teaching Grade 3 in Prince Rupert, B. C. Back then the children started cursive writing half way through Grade 2. The boy’s Dad came for an interview and asked me to please leave the boy alone because he was getting frustrated and the Mom was nagging at him. So I let him do it the way he had learned. (When I was in Grade 8 I tried to change my way of writing and use the opposite slant but it was too hard by then so I gave up.)

  7. Karen Mader says:

    I tried to comment after the last new comment under this heading and it would not go through. I will try again. When I was 5 and living in Trail, B. C.(Canada) in 1947 a Grandma next door told me they would tie my hand behind my back when I started school. I was terrified but my Mom told me that they don’t do that anymore. (She had tried to get me to use my right hand but when I started stuttering she quit). I started school in Abbotsford, B. C. in 1948 and nothing happened to me. My husband’s sister who is 6 years older than me was made to write with her right hand.

  8. June says:

    That happened to me years ago, a ruler slapped across the knuckles for writing left handed. My dad pulled me out of the religious school and I went to public school. I felt bad that I was different, but later after playing softball, I made a great pitcher, then felt great about myself, built my confidence.

    Teachers can be great, its too bad there has to be a destructive teacher around.

  9. Rachel Mims says:

    This is awful. I can’t believe a teacher could be so cruel to a little boy who is just doing what is natural and feels right to him. I would be furious if a teacher did that to me. Thankfully, I am homeschooled and did not have to deal with this insanity. My mom, being right-handed, just let me figure out how to write, after teaching me how to read and spell. People should stop being so rude to lefties.

  10. Dr Billy Levin says:

    The inherited dominant right brain feeds the left hand ,eye foot and ear and is associated with ADHD. Most inherit left brain dominance making us naturally right. Occasionally there is mixed dominance. ADHD not recognized and not treated will often result in behavior and learning problems ranging from mild to very severe

  11. Karen Mader says:

    Very glad to see that that teacher resigned.

  12. Karen Mader says:

    Am wondering if you asked Dr. Billy Levin for the article he has published and if you have where is it?

  13. susan berry says:

    I am lefthanded and all the teachers tried their best to force me to use my right hand. When they realised they could not, they abandoned me so I was never taught to knit, crochet etc. I was the only one in the whole school they could not crack.

  14. John E says:

    I guess some states and some school systems are more progressive (in a positive sense) than others.

    Both of my maternal grandparents grew up in New Castle, a small mountain town in western Colorado. My grandmother’s youngest sister, born circa 1910, was fully permitted by family and teachers to be left-handed. Similarly, my father’s cousin, born in the late 1920s and raised in Houston, grew up left-handed with no real pushback from teachers.

    Growing up as a lefty in west Los Angeles in the 1950s, about the only “problem” I ever encountered was a second-grade teacher who asked me to try briefly to write with my right hand. When I got home that day and asked my mother about the incident, she replied that the teacher probably just wanted to make sure I really was wired to be a lefty. No one ever tried to switch or “set me right,” beyond an occasional “right arm on the wrong shoulder” joke.

    Contrast this with the experience of two of my contemporaries who attended east coast Roman Catholic schools, where they were forced to switch hands. (Writing with the left hand reportedly earned the sting of a ruler slap across the back of the hand.) One of them did end up as a somewhat socially awkward stutterer.

  15. Dr Billy Levin says:

    I am a doctor specialized in ADHD .Very often these children are lefties. Do you want a article I have published on the subject to educate teachers and others?

  16. Mrs. Lucille Burns says:

    Well, kids, I started public school in the 30’s, and, with Dad being left-handed and notifying the teacher, I’ve never had problems. But, still, one must remember to place your paper parallel with left arm. During WW1, Dad taught telegraphy at Great Lakes Naval Training Station–bet it was easier for students to learn with a left-handed teacher.
    This “sinister” idea, I believe, started in the middle ages when men would greet by shaking right hands to show they were not holding a weapon. Therefore, a leftie could prove to be a danger, because he could shake right-handed and still carry a weapon! What’s under your cape????

  17. Robin Kohler says:

    As an educator I am ashamed that this is still happening. My grandmother was abused in school because she was left handed. That was 100 years ago. If I notice a student is left handed, they are treated special by me. I never want any child to go through what my grandmother did. I’m left handed and am happy to be so!

  18. Ruth A. Duey says:

    There have been remarks that children in the 50’s were made to write with their right hands. That was not true in my case. My grandfather though had his left hand tied behind him in school. He wrote beautifully with both hands. I still have many of his letters.

  19. sandy willingham says:

    that poor little boy , being a lefty is hard enough with out having people like that teacher ,maybe we should change something about her we don’t like or ( is evil ) she needs to get a life . stop picking on leftys .. we are great people and guess what teacher im not no where near a devil ..

  20. Rachel says:

    As a left-handed English teacher from Oklahoma, I am appalled by this. It is hard to believe that such ignorance can still exist in the world today. I myself have taken strides to make my classroom as left hand friendly as possible. My first year as a teacher I removed all the desks, which were all right-handed, from my classroom and instead acquired several hand neutral tables. I hope that all teachers, whether left handed or not, can learn to embrace all types of students so this kind of discrimination will never happen again.

    • Carol says:

      Bless you for thinking of your left-handed students!!! I wish someone had removed the desks when I was in school (class of ’82). I always solved the problem by turning the desk sideways so that I had the full desk to write on and I also did this in college, but occasionally I caught the business for doing so when someone had to walk by me and my sideways desk was blocking the aisle.

      • Louise says:

        When I was a child in elementary school in the 70’s, there were only two left handed desks out of 30 and three left handed students, including myself. We used to run to get to the desk first. How ridiculous was that?

        Anyway, the funniest story I can tell is that I have two left handed children with my ex, whose parents came straight from Italy. The Italians think that if you’re left handed, the devil sits on your left shoulder so you will be cursed. My daughter was about 2 years old in her high chair at my in-laws house eating with her left hand. My ex mom-in-law kept switching the fork to her right hand,over and over again. All of a sudden, my daughter caught a temper and screamed and flung the fork at her grandmother. It hit the old lady in her face. Needless to say, she never bothered her again, however, we are Catholic and she used to throw holy water at my daughter everytime she ate there. Unbelievable ignorance at its best!!!

  21. Eddie Chu says:

    Why is this still happening???????? Just because we’re left-handed doesn’t mean we’re associated with the devil!It doesn’t happen here in Canada, but to think this would still happen… it’s preposterous!

  22. Lynne Stevens says:

    How utterly ridiculous that a so-called ‘educated’woman should be so ignorant as to inflict such utter nonsence on impressionable children!It makes you wonder what other antiquated rubbish/ideas they are being brainwashed with,if this is the standard of education deemed acceptable, not only by this-at best,ill-informed-‘teacher’,but also the school she ‘teaches’ in.Utterly shocking!

  23. L. Bannister says:

    This teacher obviously has yet to master reading comprehension. Did she even read the rest of the article?
    There’s a reason public education is, in general, crap.

    If that happened to my child (who is left-handed)I would probably be in jail for smacking that idiot! I’m proud of my left-handed daughter!!!!

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