Nicole LeMire lost her job after subjecting an abusive student to "public humiliation."
This is one of those stories where you change your mind several times while reading it. At least I did. Is it fair to bully a bully, even if you're an authority figure? Do two wrongs make a right? Is it fair to use the bullying tactics of shaming and humiliation if it prevents the innocent from being bullied in the same way? Also, is a bully bullier like Blade, the superhero who has the powers of a vampire but not the weaknesses, and uses his power to fight vampires? The answer is yes.
Nicole LeMire is a former teacher at Glen Oak Elementary School in the Olentangy School District of central Ohio. A very popular teacher in a well-ranked school, LeMire thought her job was safe. But last Thursday, the school board voted to fire her, all over an episode that happened in her classroom.
Last month, she became aware that one of her students was bullying his classmates, wiping his snot on them and pushing them to the ground. Classic bully material. She decided to step in, changing his behavior with a cunning and humiliating exercise of her own: she wiped her snot on him.
Not really (no matter how much we wish). In reality, she just asked him a question: "Do you know how your actions and your words are hurting other students and your friends?" Then she forced the boy to sit quietly while his classmates listed their criticisms of him. He wasn't given a chance to defend himself, although if he had, it probably would have involved snot. The exercise ended, but Ms. LeMire's problems were just beginning.
Nicole LeMire, bully bullier. (via GoFundMe)
Within days, word of the incident reached school administrators, and she was placed on leave. She was told that she was under investigation for "public humiliation" of that bully. Then, on Thursday, during a school board meeting that became heated, her contract was terminated. According to the board's resolution, Ms. LeMire
"…asked students in her classroom to take turns saying how the student (“Student A") had acted badly, violated rules or insulted them, and/or why Student A was annoying or had no friends. Ms. LeMire required Student A to listen to classmates' complaints and refused to allow him to respond or defend himself against potentially embellished complaints."
A letter sent from the school board to Ms. LeMire accused her of "poor professional judgment," telling her:
“On April 15, 2015, you held a class meeting to discuss the incident… During this meeting, students were crying, and one student left the room crying and looking for a guidance counselor."
Apparently, this is not the first offense for this teacher. According to a personnel file the school provided to Yahoo Parenting, she has been suspended and reprimanded multiple times before, and was warned in December 2014 that she could be terminated for any more instances of “unprofessional or unethical behavior." Despite her record, however, many parents and former students are coming to her defense. They spoke up on her behalf at the board meeting and berated the board members once they had rendered their decision, but it was too late.
Ms. LeMire, however, isn't going down without a fight. She plans on suing the school district, and has even started a GoFundMe page to pay for her legal expenses. Here's how she describes her cause:
Hello; my name is Nicole LeMire, and I am asking for your help as I continue my fight against the Olentangy Local School District for wrongfully terminating my contract. As I believe in this cause wholeheartedly, it is going to be costly. If you find it in your heart to give monetarily toward the amount of my legal fees, I would be most grateful. Thank you. #WorthEveryPenny
Despite that obnoxious hashtag, she's already raised more than $12,000 of her $25,000 goal. It would be interesting to see this case go to trial. Some judges might side with Ms. LeMire and order the school to reinstate her. Then again, others might ban her from teaching for life, shaming her for abusing her position over helpless children before wiping snot all over her. Only time will tell.