And today in WTF news that will make you lose all faith in humanity: An assistant principal in South Carolina has been forced to resign after cyberbulling a kindergartener. A kindergartener. Ugh. Ugh. You guys. How does stuff like this happen?!
According to the Washington Times, Charles Fowler came under fire (and rightly so) after snapping a picture — face and all — of a six-year-old girl at a Seneca Wal-Mart and posting it to Facebook. He captioned it “Honey Boo Boo at Walmart,” mocking both the child herself and Alana Thompson of the TLC show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The post has since been removed, but good gravy. I can’t even.
The girl’s great-grandmother, Elaine Thompson, said that the child ended up staying home from school on Monday because of the post. Noted Thompson in a statement, “[Mr. Fowler] just picked her out in Wal-Mart and then wants to ridicule her and call her Honey Boo Boo just because she’s overweight. She’s got health problems. I take her to the doctor for that. He has devastated my family. He has embarrassed us.” And it gets worse: Thompson continued, “[She] was up until after midnight… saying ‘Nanny, people are calling me Honey Boo Boo.’ She said, ‘Nanny I’ve got to lose some weight,’ and she said, ‘I don’t want people to see me like this.’”
This is heartbreaking. How on earth can we teach kids about acceptance, good body image, and body positivity when kids this young are being targeted by adults who should absolutely know better?
A petition sprang up in light of the event calling for Fowler’s termination. According to the Daily Dot, hundreds signed it — including his own son. As of Monday, Fowler, who was the assistant principal of Walhalla High School in the Oconee County School District, had been placed on paid administrative leave; he reportedly resigned on Tuesday, and his name no longer appears in the school district’s staff directory.
I’ll admit that I was kind of convinced Here Comes Honey Boo Boo heralded the arrival of the apocalypse when it first started airing; TLC’s shows often tout themselves as exposés, but ultimately just exploit their subjects instead. Something felt really off to me about putting this family up on screen knowing that it was mostly so that people could laugh at them. Since then, though, Honey Boo Boo and her family have become beacons of positivity, a family full of wonderful role models — something which Fowler appears to have missed. At least he’s suffered the consequences.
And to his cyberbullying victim, I say this: You’re awesome. Don’t ever forget that.