Childrearing

Principal Throws Out Teachers’ Desks Because Sitting Is for Closers

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(Photo: Ableimages/Getty Images)

Teachers are absolutely essential to the functioning of society. Much of my life and who I am as a person is the result of some very good, dedicated, passionate teachers I had while I was growing up. I am pretty sure most adults can name at least a few formidable teachers who made a big difference in our lives. But if the U.S. is looking to make sure that nobody ever wants to become a teacher ever again, it is doing a laudable job of it. Teachers are wildly underpaid, unappreciated, vilified in politics and the media, and mocked by smug blowhards who think they’re clever for saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” And if some great people still feel compelled to make a difference in the world by educating the next generation of American citizens, well, maybe we can just crush their spirits a little more by taking all their chairs and forcing them to stand all day.

It sounds like a joke, but according to the New York Post, one principal actually did that this week. Principal Donna Connelly of PS 24, the Spuyten Duyvil School in Riverdale, in the Bronx, ordered all the teachers’ desks and file cabinets to be dumped at the curb because she did not want the teachers sitting in class. When asked where they were supposed to store their paperwork, she reportedly told them to, “Figure it out,” even though I’m pretty sure humanity figured out where to store paperwork when it invented desks and filing cabinets.

Connelly told the teachers they should grade papers in the lunch room.

Connelly’s school is actually a good one and the students there reportedly score well above average on standardized tests, so it is unclear what prompted this motion. Connelly’s teachers sound like they’ve been doing their jobs very well, and this sort of punishment makes no sense at all. Several teachers described the situation as “dehumanizing,” and said the students watched the whole thing go down and could tell the teachers were upset about losing all their furniture. If any of those kids were thinking about growing up to be teachers, this seems like the sort of thing that would make them reconsider.

The school district reportedly said the furniture was taken away “to facilitate better instruction,” but it is difficult to see how taking away desks and filing cabinets would do anything besides make life even more inconvenient for the teachers.

District Superintendent Melodie Mashel allegedly ordered all the furniture picked back up off the curb and returned to the school Friday, but none of it has reportedly made its way back into the teachers’ classrooms. Connelly has had all the desks and filing cabinets stored in the basement instead.