This Is Not How You Handle Bullying

Sometimes, teachers get fired for obviously trumped-up reasons

— like, say, being pregnant or gay at a Catholic high school. Other times, you have a case like Madeline Luciano, the NYC teacher fired for making students write why they hated a classmate on the board, which is... pretty straightforwardly awful. As always, though, there's more to the story.Luciano was a teacher at NYC's P.S. 18 in Inwood when one of her 8th grade students came to her on June 4, 2013 for help after being bullied, DNAinfo reports. The student's book bag had been stolen, and when she eventually recovered it, someone had ripped up her student portfolio. Here's where it starts getting weird: Instead of handling it privately, says the Office of Special Investigations report via DNAinfo, Luciano's response was to ask students to write letters explaining why they hated their classmate. Seriously. The assignment ended with a volunteer writing out insults on the board as the class called them out, including 8th grade favorites such as "stupid," "fake," and "ugly." Luciano claims that she didn't seek out a volunteer, but according to the report, students told investigators that she asked for someone to write down what was called out. The barrage of insults continued until the bullied girl started crying, after which Luciano claims that the volunteer erased the board and wrote "sorry."

<img alt="" src="" class="article-body-image" title="Image:"/>Luciano says she then told the class to "work as a team and that they needed to treat each other with love," but by then the damage had been done to both her career and the poor student's psyche. Although it's unlikely that Luciano intended for her bizarre assignment to get so out of hand, school principal Connie Mejia fired her, citing grounds of misconduct. The incident occurred in 2013, but the story is resurfacing after Luciano filed a petition to regain security clearance with the Department of Education, without which she can't find another teaching job. Her probationary teaching period at P.S. 18 would have been over in September of 2014, but due to her termination, she never received her certificate of completion of probation. According to DNAInfo, the petition is currently under review at the Brooklyn Supreme Court.

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