When I wrote two articles on the Febreze fiasco in Twillingate my concern was that someone, the teacher , was being tarred and feathered without having been heard.  I was not aware of the following letter that had been sent to the Telegram by the parents of the children in that same class.  After reading it I see the real picture.  Having taught ten year old children for fifteen years this scenario seems to be more accurate. The teacher could not speak for herself.  So the mayor of Twillingate did and so did the other parents. I have seen adults react exactly the way these children did.  Some scent offends them and they go right to the person in charge to have it removed.  Complaints about bad breath, poor hygeine and scented products are frequently dealt with in public areas and it is not considered bullying.  But should the offender start rubbing noses in these scents he would be the bully.  In this particular case the child was being a child and the teacher was actually trying to alleviate the situation for the children in the class and also for the child himself as his behaviour was self distructive. Here is the letter from the parents to the Telegram.

CONCERNED PARENTS
– February 12, 2012 at 18:35:28

CONCERNED PARENTS OF THE TWILLINGATE ISLAND ELEMENTARY GRADE 5 CLASS We, as the parents, feel it is important to let the public know that there are 2 sides to the “febrezing” story and our children should not be portrayed as mean, malicious bullies or teasers. That could not be further from the truth. We are not trying to speak harshly of the mother or the victim, but the public should know the story through the students’ eyes. Majority of the students in the class came home and told the exact same story to their parents: In the day of the incident, Christian came back to school from lunch smelling of capelin (which we all know can be of a strong scent). The children complained of the smell in the classroom. This being typical behaviour of 10 year old children. It was then, that Christian starting chasing the children around the classroom, trying to hug them, and spreading the capelin scent on their clothes (laughing while doing so). You can imagine the commotion that this caused in a class of 20 children. When the teacher came in, she tried to get control of her class. Acting in compassion, meaning no harm or embarrassment to the child, she then went looking for some sort of deodorizer. She found some febreze, sprayed some in his locker and a little on his shirt. The student remained in the hallway for a short period of time until everything calmed down. He then continued to work with the other students on their social studies projects. End of Story! Our children are devastated because they are being portrayed as bullies. They feel confused because they don’t understand why this innocent act has gone to extreme measures. The students are concerned that they will lose a teacher that they respect and admire. There’s no denying her skills as a teacher. We, as parents, feel she should return to class and rebuild her reputation as the fine teacher we know her to be. The above letter was sent to the Nova Central School District and it is also mentioned on other media. In reading your editorial, and the fact that you should know Journalism 101, there are TWO sides to every story as mentioned in the above letter. We are not rude, obnoxious adults of bully-raisers nor are our children brats or miscreants. This could not be further from the truth. You wrote that Ms. Rideout said that the mass media attention has taken her by surprise but to date she is still willing to talk to anyone who wants to listen. Instead of the incident being dealt with within the school and the school district, it is now being aired across Canada and the United States as an one-sided story. This has left us no choice but to defend us and our children because we were judged very unfairly. Until it hit the media and they were being called bullies, our children didn’t think much about the incident. Our children want to resume normal everyday life in their classroom with their teacher. AN APOLOGY FROM YOU IS EXPECTED.

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