Human Resources News & Insights

Principal may be fired for making six-year-old clean toilet

Fireable offense, or just incredibly bad judgment that merits less drastic discipline? You make the call in the case of the principal, the six-year-old and the toilet.

An elementary school principal in Eagan, MN, is on paid leave after the parents of a kindergarten student said he made their son remove paper towels the boy had dropped into a toilet.

The boy’s parents, Elijah and Shannon Hannah, filed a complaint against Principal Doug Steele in an incident involving one of their sons, who hasn’t been named in media coverage by the Star Tribune.

The boy claims the trouble started when he used a bathroom and wiped himself with paper towels, accidentally causing the toilet to clog.

The boy’s teacher called the principal who allegedly made the boy clear out the toilet bowl bare-handed.

Through his attorney, Steele has provided a slightly different story. He says the toilet contained only water and paper towels and that he only asked the six-year-old boy to remove the towels and put them in the trash.

Steele’s attorney says firing would be too harsh a penalty.

Elijah Hannah says the principal should lose his job. The Hannahs have said they will consider legal action if the district doesn’t fire Steele.

Steele is entitled to a hearing, and asked for one, which could take two to three months.

His attorney claims the school board wants to fire Steele.

Citing legal reasons, the school district said it will continue to decline comment on the case until the end of the hearing process.

The only information we have so far on this case is what’s been reported in the media. However, Steele does admit he made the boy take paper towels out of the toilet with his bare hands.

Is firing too harsh in this case? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.

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Comments

  1. I do not believe the principal should be fired. The legal areana is simply over the edge of reality. When will it end.

    Approximatley 8 years ago my son threw up on the school bus and the driver made him clean it up. When I called to complain the bus company would not even offer an apology. What’s the difference? I let it go, instead of making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  2. The principal should keep his job. He was only holding the child accountable for his actions–something his parents must not be doing.

  3. So, Sue, you essentially did nothing about the abuse of authority by the bus driver, which probably allowed the driver AND the negligent bus company to continue transporting kids and abusing their authority. Way to go!

    The kid in this article was six years old and forced to stick his hand into a toilet bowl by someone with a huge amount of authority. Fired? Maybe that’s harsh, but it’s not unreasonable. Severely disciplined and forced to apologize? Yes, at minimum.

  4. Oh come on-she was teaching him a lesson! If you make a mess you clean it up. I have 4 sons and they had to clean up after themselves. Maybe that is why they are very successful and have taught their children to pick up their toys. We didn’t keep our lawyer on speed dial on the telephone. Instead of addressing the problem the parents call a lawyer. It’s amazing how a brief conversation between the parents and teacher can eliminate the need for legal action. Grow up people.

  5. I agree with Ann and Sue. This is a ridiculous example of our litigious society. In retrospect, the principal probably should have provided rubber gloves for the boy to put on before removing the paper towels, but for heaven’s sakes – what kind of parents are out there nowadays that are providing such poor examples of responsibility to their children?

  6. Gosh, this sort of thing, including cleaning of toilets, windows, floors, etc., was a standard when I went to Catholic school. I stuck my hand in the toilet many times, and it was because they made us us SOS pads to clean them!

  7. I totally agree with Ann.
    Look at the principal’s record I am sure he is a good principal just trying to teach the child what the parents can not or will not do.

  8. I agree with “WHAT” obviously, the principal was WRONG in having a child stick his bare hands in the toilet after we teach our kids not to. They were other ways in which to handle this situation. He was wrong in doing so. It not the same as teaching our kids to pick-up after themselves.

  9. I agree that the child should have been given gloves to take the paper out of the toilet. The parents need to have a talk with the child to make him understand that putting paper towels in the toilet bowl is not proper. What would they have done if the child filled the toilet at home with paper towels and stopped it up? Pat him on the head and send him on his way. I would hope not. If the principal is disciplined it should only be for not giving the child gloves to wear before sticking his hand in the toilet. Someone needs to be teaching these children if the parents can’t/won’t.

  10. I agree with all of you . . to an extent. Firing is probably too harsh of a punishment. If the child INTENTIONALLY made the toilet overflow due to messing around and stuffing it full of paper towl, then yes, the child should have to be held accountable for their actions. The point that most people are missing is that the child was made to stick their bare hand in a toilet bowl that contained human excrement. What is this teaching the child? Would an adult due the same thing if they were in that situation? Probably not.

  11. I would not want my child to stick his hand in the toilet under any circumstances. Trying to reach the child a lesson is one thing, but teaching him to put his hand in a toilet was poor judgement on the principal’s part. Yes we teach our children to clean up after themselves, pick up their toys, hang up their clothes, wipe up their mess, etc. But I don’t know any parents that would make their six year old clean the toilet with their bare hands.

    Do I think the principal should lose his job, no I don’t; but, he should be disciplined and an apology would also be in order.

  12. The boy is only six. What the principal did was the right thing for an older child but not a six year old–a lot of kids have trouble at that age. I would have talked to the student and explained that as he discovered, paper towels are not good for toilets and tell him that it was not ok to do what he did and that I would call his parents so they could talk to him more in-depth at home. I would have called the parents and explained that in the future, problems like this that involved their child would be handled by charging the parents a portion of the janitorial services or plumbing bill (whatever was needed). The boy needed a little help in a very private situation–parent’s job.
    The principal should not be fired but should have to set up a plan for an age appropriate way to handle things like this in the future, document that and train the staff. Deviations from that plan would be treated with disciplinary action appropriate to the offense.

  13. A world full of people who don’t take accountability is exactly what we need. SERIOUSLY NOW………If I littered when I was a child I was told to pick it up. If I mouthed off in school ,my parents held me accountable. If I did something wrong I was scolded and my parents made sure that we respected our teachers and the rules. We live in a world today that is wrought with the entitlement attitude. Our court systems are clogged up with ridiculous claims so that people that do actually have a legal dispute are forced to wait to get their day in court. Firing the principal……a little over the top if you ask me. I agree that having the child stick their bare hands in the toilet was not a wise judgment call…..but if you know most 6 year olds they are eating dirt, picking their nose and sharing gum with each other…..hardly sanitary means either.

  14. If the principal is made to apologize, then the parents should be obligated to come to the school and clean out the toilet the next time it happens (and it probably will!)

  15. Maria Joseph says:

    No, I don’t think the principal should be fired for this. I think that the principal should be informed that this was not the best course of action, but I personally probably would not make a big issue of it were he my employee. The parents also need to be informed so they can properly teach their kid how to use the toilet-c’mon, 6 years old is old enough to know how to use the toilet properly.

    If the kid was intentionally playing around by stuffing papers into the toilet to make it overflow, yes, the punishment was appropriate, though I would have provided gloves to the kid. My own daughter did this when she was 7, causing the toilet to overflow all over the house. I made her work with me in cleaning up the mess…she has not done anything like that since. I don’t think that we should let kids get away with everything. There is already too much of that going on already. Sounds like the parents in this story also have an issue with maturity and are intent on starting some drama when they should be working with their kid to teach him the right way to use a toilet.

  16. First, it’s a mistake to draw conclusions about anyone’s behavior without hearing more facts about this incident. I can imagine two very different but equally plausible scenarios based on the limited info here: in one, the principal used questionable judgment but did no real harm; in the other, he’s a sadistic jerk who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a school.

    Second, I agree with the commenters that the courthouse is rarely if ever the best place to solve a problem like this. However, the school district needs to grow a spine and back up its employees, too. The parents “will consider legal action” if the principal isn’t fired? Based on what? There needs to be some due process before any further action is taken here.

  17. THE ONLY think I would change in what the principal asked of the boy is to have given him disposable gloves… there is nothing wrong with having children clean up the mess they make… if more were helpd accoutnable, fewer would transgress.

    Of course, this takes for granted that the boy did actually put paper towels in the toilet “maliciously” – that there was toilet paper available and that he stuffed copious amounts of towels into the toilet.

  18. That does it. I hereby refuse to take any responsibility for any of my actions, learn any lessons, discipline or correct anyone, take any discipline or correction, understand cause and effect, accept blame (whether or not it’s deserved), or deal with the “real” world at all until everyone’s feelings are not only considered, but catered to. And while I’m at it, I’m going to insist that every interaction I take part in be in a Nerf-covered room and that we all wear helmets…… Oh – and I’m going to teach every child I know to behave the same way. Then I’m going to go to law school.

  19. Hands are washable. Yes, gloves would have been a good idea, but children are taught to wash their hands after using the restroom because of the contact their hands have with what ends up in the toliet in the first place.

  20. My reading of the story does not seem to have malicious intent on the part of the child. As a parent to a six-year-old boy I can safely say that he would not realize that putting paper towels in the toilet would clog it. The article did say he used the towels to clean himself which means they were not just covered with toilet water. Was there another option available in the restroom for him to use? My child’s school the bathrooms are stalls so he would have had to exit the stall to get paper towels in order to clean himself…makes me wonder. Also, the parents have only threatened legal action if the school board did not fire the principle.
    I am not sure I would want him fired, but I definitely would expect an apology to my child and myself and some type of disciplinary action. Of course that would be contingent on his previous history. I think he may have been too quick to punish where a conversation may have sufficed.

  21. My 13 year old son still puts stuff in the toilet that he shouldn’t. How would a 6 year old know any better? The principal acted in a childish, unprofessional manner. I’ve seen TOO many times that parents and others will side with the principal or teachers just BECAUSE they are teachers and principals. Believe, they are not always right. Firing is kind of harsh but he should be reprimanded.

  22. Wow! I expected to read blogs of horrified people at what was asked of this 6 year old. Yes we need to teach our children to be responsible, but this was a first grader! Cleaning up toys and pulling soiled hand towels out of a toilet are two totally different things. As the mother of teenage boys I agree that the parents need to be involved and it should be their place to decide how to handle the situation. If the principle doesn’t like how they handle the situation tough luck. It is not his place to decide whether or not the parents will handle it in a manner he finds worthy. If the child was a 6th grader and knew better that would be different. But folks this is a little boy not an adult. We can not expect him to think like an adult. Asking the boy to put his hands in a school toilet, notoriously filthy, was a very very Bad decision. How anyone could side with the principle is beyond me.

  23. Too young to stick his hands in the toilet but not too young to go home and explain his problems to his parents. If you’re old enough to tell it then you’re old enough to understand it. I think the principal’s judgement is commendable. Accountability can be taught at age 4 and up and I’ve got the boys to prove it. I’m tired of hearing how lucky I am to have such good kids and grandkids. It is hard work to teach and it is easy to blame others. I see the parents placing blame here when they are part of the problem and not the solution. There will be more problems with this child in the future for he is now being taught that he did no wrong but the adult wronged him. The bed of roses he is walking will thorn him one day.

  24. Based on the information that we’ve been given it appears that he did not intentionally do it. This is a 6 year old child we are talking about. Maybe there was no toilet paper and he had to use paper towels, we don’t know. He should not have put them in the toilet, but making him clean out the toilet is too much. That was more of a humiliation than discipline for a child this age. I’m not saying he should not have been reprimanded, but cleaning out the toilet is way over the line. On the other hand, the principal should not lose his job but there should be some kind of discussion there just as there should be with the child. If it was intentional on the child’s part, yes there should be stricter punishment for the child. I think the parents are taking it too far with legal action. This was blown way out of proportion on all sides.

  25. We do not have the whole story and can’t pass judgement either way without it but I can read between the lines. I will bet that this little 6 year old is the biggest trouble maker in the school and did this on purpose so this principal was just in his discipline. Our new age culture of letting little Johnny do whatever he wants and not try to discipline him because we are “afraid we might break his spirit” is for the birds. His parents should be made to apologize to the principal for creating such a monster.
    By the way just because someone has a 13 year old without enough sense than to put something in the toilet that doesn’t belong there doesn’t make it the norm. As we potty trained our children and grandchildren we taught them what goes in the toilet. I have a 3 year old grand daughter that knows the difference. Wow I guess she is a genius or has parents smart enough to teach right from wrong even in the bathroom.

  26. The principal was reasonable. Unreasonable are the parents that are making such a big deal out of this. Sadly, their child is probably coddled beyond belief. Picking a piece of paper towel out of a clean toilet is harmless. That changes though if the toilet has something in it.

    Wendy, disposable gloves are unnecessary, so long as the toilet is regularly cleaned and no marks are anything are left on it for use. Seriously, that water is pretty clean, unless it hasn’t been flushed in a while.

    Keith, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    From the first part though it looks like he clogged the toilet with paper towels, meaning he probably used the toilet, and sounds pretty harsh since there’d likely be pee or poop still in the toilet bowl. However, if there wasn’t any pee or poop, just water, then it’s not unreasonable.

    Intentional or not intentional, at no matter what age, kids do need to learn accountability.

  27. And they wonder what’s wrong with kids now a days….we do not hold them responcible for their actions. I bet if his cell phone or a dollar bill fell into the toilet there would be no issue with sticking his hand in the toilet to retrieve it, in fact they seem like the type of parents that would displine their child if he didn’t retreive his item. There are a lot of missing pieces on this story to make a true judgement of the proper action but let me ask this; have you ever spent a day, recentally, with a bunch of 6 year olds in a school atmosphere? Try it and see how you feel at the end of the day.

  28. When I was laid off from a job I held for 12 years, my Mom wanted me to go back to school to get my teacher’s certificate. Now I love kids, and I do teach adult night school, but you could not get me into a classroom these days for all the tea in China. There is a prevailing attitude out there that it’s OK for kids to do “whatever” and that the kids are never at fault. Were it my child, I would have said, “Well, I guess we won’t be doing that again, will we?” and left it at that. I have employees who take no responsibility for anything who probably had parents like these. I agree with the person who said “Hands are washable”. What this child has learned is that he does not have to be responsible for doing anything wrong and that his parents will take his side no matter what. Great……

  29. Keith – you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately that is exactly what our society is becoming. No one wants to be held accountable for their own mistakes. What kind of a generation are we raising here? It is only getting worse, and the lawyers and (and those with their “lawyer on speed dial”) are the only ones benefitting.

  30. Keith – I’m with you!

  31. I wouldn’t stick MY hand into my own toilet without gloves. I wouldn’t my child to do so either. It was wrong of the principal to expect it but he shouldn’t be fired.

  32. Let’s pat the precious little snowflake on the head and send him back to the class with no accountability at all, then let the helicopter parents file what ever egregious lawsuit they may desire, then let the school board come up with some additional PC disciplinary programs for the snowflakes and America itself goes down the toilet with our government education system, which I believe is far mor dangerous than islamic terrorism.

  33. I agree that teaching the kid to be more responsible is appropriate. I can see a 6 year old using paper towels if, say, there was no toilet paper. However if he did it intentionally, then he knew exactly what he was doing. If the toilet was full of only clean water, no harm done. But if not – gloves should have been provided! Putting ones hands in a toilet is rarely appropriate. The kid needs to learn that lesson too.

    Cindy – I don’t know how your 13 year old doesn’t know what not to put in a toilet. Maybe he should have been taught this sort of lesson when he was 6.

  34. To Fred C:

    I can’t believe someone in HR would “read between the lines”. That’s dangerous in our business.

  35. Sue – good call. The principle isn’t just around 6 year olds all day, but probably hundreds of kids under the age of 11!!!

  36. To MS

    My son has ADHD…..see how important it is too know the facts. He’s been taught but has issues on retaining. Do you think I purposely NOT tell my child want not to put in the toilet? PLEASE!

  37. Cindy,
    You have a 13 year old that still puts things in the toilet he shouldn’t and you agree that the principal is wrong????? Too bad your 13 year old didn’t meet up with this principal when he was 6. He would have already learned toilet etiquette which he obviously hasn’t learned at home. God help his future employer. Our DUTY as parents is to teach our children how to become good adults. Good teachers and principles at good schools are supposed to help with this task. Have you been doing a good job with this kid?

  38. Wow, this is fun for a Friday. I have 400 employees and responsibility for the facility under my HR mantle. I have had to hire a full-time custodian to clean the restrooms every two hours all day because there are so many people who never learned to be accountable for their actions and/or their messes. (think restrooms in gas stations, but worse) The age of the child and the punishment may not have correlated, but the bottom line is that somehow people need to learn while their young so they don’t perpetuate this disgusting behavior when they get older.

  39. This is about a disciplinary action, one possibly leading to termination. This is not about the presence or absence of human waste in the porcelain bowl. Termination is unreasonable. School personnel are already ham-strung enough. Gone are the days of a good whack of determent.

    But on another note, did anyone determine if there was the alternate appropriate paper available? If not, why don’t the parents sue the janitorial staff as well for performing their job in an unreasonable, irresponsible manner? Oh, by the way, what would the janitors wear to unclog the commode? Is it acceptable for them to have to fish out with their hands paper towels left by another?

    Responsibility, accountability for actions, cause and effect – if these were properly taught at home, school personnel could reinforce these.

    If my 2 year old granddaughter puts anything inappropriate in the toilet, her father, my daughter (her mother), my son (her uncle), or I stand by while she remedies the situation, making her suffer the consequences of her own actions. Then we immediately reinforce another rule, by assisting her to thoroughly wash her hands while reviewing appropriate behavior. We try to make use of every teaching opportunity that presents itself in order to produce a reasonable responsible citizen.

  40. oops…they’re, not their…sorry

  41. Well said Jeanette and LEU. This is exactly what I mean. We have the same problem here so that I have to make a bathroom cleaning schedule. Each employee gets the fun of cleaning the bathrooms at one time or another. If they had been disciplined and made to learn right from wrong at a young age maybe they wouldn’t be the toilet trashers they are today.

  42. I think some people are just slobs no matter how they are taught as children. At least that is my experience. Two children from the same family can be totally different.

  43. Well back to the meat of this conversation. Even given the “complete” story, the principal should NOT have been fired. We have created an epidemic of litigation in our society where the schools cow to every single parent or organization (ie: ACLU) and ruin someones life because they, the adminstrators, are afraid to stand up for their employees when they are right just because it is said “I’m going to sue you”.

  44. I am all for accountability but I STILL wouldn’t want my 6 year old’s hand in a public toilet.

  45. Sharon:

    Ever parent an ADHD child? my son is well-loved and well cared for and is taught what is right and wrong. Don’t judge unless you know the facts. In the case of this story…we DON’T know all the facts. He was 6 years old!!! Do you expect a six year old to do the right thing all the time? You are hard on children.

  46. to Janinne: I would expect our janitor to wear gloves. It’s what they were taught at the hospital I worked for. I wouldn’t of even had an issue if they would of had the six year old wear gloves. I’ve seen too many teachers/principals make children feel inferior because THEY weren’t trained correctly

  47. Cindy – I think that’s the bottom line. Very few parents would be okay with their 6 year old’s bare hand in a public toilet. Gloves would have made this whole situation so much better!

    Bad judgement, but not worth the principle losing her job. She, like the 6 year old, needs to understand what she could do differently the next time to make a better choice. It’s how we all learn.

  48. As a spouse of a school administrator I’m finding this hilarious! Children learn by actions of parents, teachers, etc. Sounds like Mom & Dad may need to set an example for this boy. This child is old enough to know what goes into a toilet! As for the rubber gloves, I doubt many schools have the correct size for a 6 year old and they would probably end up with the paper towels, in the toilet bowl. And what if the child is latex sensitive? Move on to the real problem Mom & Dad want to get rich by any means possible-even if Jr. is the target. Otherwise they would have handled this situation in the proper way. Discussing this with the Principal would have settled the situation. School Administrators are held to a God like status, but guess what they are no different than you-try living up to the expectations they are not paid to uphold. Each year they spend hours taking classes to keep certifications current, deal with fights, idiot parents that shouldn’t be allowed to have children,attend all sporting events and get home at 10:00 each night. Quit whining and hug a child and set an example for them.

  49. I decided to do a bit of web surfing to get more details. The principle was under the impression that the boy just flushed the towels to create mischief. He did not realize the boy had used the towels to clean himself…hmmm makes you wonder if he bothered to ask questions or just decided to punish. The news story also states this was the first bathroom incident that this boy had ever had so doesn’t sound like he is a trouble maker that they needed to make an example of. I think this is more a case of an over zealous principle that made a bad decision. Not necessarily a firing offense, but it does sound like he may need additional training in order to fill the position he maintains. I also agree that the parents need to talk to the child to make sure he understood the error he made, but again the “crime” doesn’t match the punishment.
    Kindergarten children are still learning right from wrong. At age 5&6 there are still some children that have accidents in their pants let alone mastering all the bathroom etiquette skills.
    Some of the “hang that child from the first tree branch you come across” commentors obviously you have spent too much time working with adults that ACT like children.

  50. First of all, for everyone who said that the Principal was right in telling the 6 year old to stick his hands in the toliet to unclog is crazy!! I mean seriously, most grown people wouldn’t stick their hands in a toliet bowl with or without gloves, so why should the expectation of a 6 yr old be to do that! I don’t think that the principal should be fired, in my opinion, he just excerised poor judgment. I don’t think I would have gone the lengths that Hannah’s have gone, but I definitely would have contacted the school board to advise them of what the Principal thinks is a good punishment for clogging a toliet!!

  51. to RH

    Well said

  52. I was a middle-school teacher and students rule the schools now. Teachers and the administration no longer have any authority, and the students get away with murder. Even though paper towels in clean toilet bowl water aren’t necessarily severe health hazards, plastic gloves might have been more appropriate. Guess you had to be there.

  53. Pete Corrao says:

    Teaching personal responsibility is the issue here — too many parents don’t — I do not know all of the details of the case, but this is ridiculous and should not be in the courts…the parents should “grow up”

  54. 1 Hepatits A, B, C. E Coli, etc. Just because the water looks clean, does not mean it is. Horrific infections can enter the body through a small scratch or abrasion. Washing after the fact is not enough.

    2 Maybe the child used paper towels because there was no toilet tissue & he had a mess on himself.

    3 Paper towles probably could have been scooped out with a brush or other utensil. A plastic bag over the hand, if no gloves available.

    4 A more appropriate solution might have been for the child to “help” the janitor by holding the trash can while the contents of the toilet were removed. He’d see the results of his actions, have no health risk, and maybe be inspired to a career in maintenance & engineering. Humiliation is not necessarily the best teacher.

  55. Richard Lance says:

    I suspect the 6 year old was planning to flood the bathroom and got caught. justr the wrong approach for resolution – should not fire

  56. Thanks for your sensibility RH.

    No wonder people are afraid to come into HR offices anymore.

  57. Kathy, that’s thinking way too much for this situation. Seriously, keep it simple, a mistake like this is not really that big enough of a deal to think that much for a solution like that.

  58. SSN:
    Having been to much training for being a School Board Trustee I feel a responsibility to tell you that this is EXACTLY the kind of thing that doesn’t go to the school board without having exhausted all the avenues of complaint. School boards are the last line of defense like the Supreme Court. The School Boards main responsibility is that your kids have the proper curriculum to be well educated and have the best environment to learn in. The are not primarily responsible for discipline in the schools. That is why you hire a superintendent.

  59. Richard,

    Please read the posting by RH, clearly that was not the case.

  60. Fred,

    I am well aware of the chain of command in all situations and circumstances so please do not feel like you have a responsibility to tell me anything. People have said that they were ok with the principal telling the kid to stick his hands in a nasty toilet and you feel like you need to tell me about a chain of command. The superintendent might not have thought it was that serious, so going to the school board was necessary. Bottom line, the fact that this has gotten way out of hand, and they need to come to some kind of agreement.

  61. Seriously, there aren’t more serious issues going on in our schools that require taxpayer dollars and administrative/parental attention? Get a clue America.

  62. Children today are spoiled, rotten brats. I can’t believe the media and parents are even considering an eight year old’s opinion. Children do not know what’s right and wrong, that’s why today’s students have to be given the No Child left behind assistance. The Principal was trying to teach this little sh– principles. He probably cried to his mommy and daddy and got this way – that’s why they are attempting legal action. Kids need to learn things don’t always go as planned. Praise to educators that have to put up with the disrespectful monsters in schools today. Another waste of tax payers dollars.

  63. I love reading the responses on these things. They can be so entertaining sometimes!

    I obviously require much more discipline out of my children than some of you… First of all, the story states that the principal’s attorney disputes that the toilet was even “dirty”. Second, after the kid took out the excess paper and flushed the toilet, I’m sure there is a sink with sanitary, anti-bacterial soap for him to thoroughly wash his hands so they are “germ free”. Finally, if the person (and I don’t care if they are 4 or 40) isn’t required to clean up after themself, how are they supposed to learn not to make the mess? I’m sorry, but our current society is a take-take-take, sue-sue-sue one that excuses one from growing up and being responsible for their actions. I bet in the army they would make you clean out your toilet and I bet you wouldn’t get gloves to do it either!

  64. Since when do we treat our 6 year olds like they are in the army? I had a strict upbringing but I’m glad I didn’t grow up in your house! I agree that children should be taught how to be responsible citizens. Yes, they should learn to clean up after themselves. But no matter how clean a toilet looks, it’s still a public toilet and there are still germs lurking. Teaching kids to be “clean” is also an important lesson at that age.

    I don’t agree with the actions of the parents in this case, and do think our society goes to court way too often.

  65. To Malena

    Wow. I know a lot of kids and they are not all ” spoiled rotten brats” or “monsters” or “little sh–“. It is dangerous to group anyone into a catch all catagory including kids. There are a lot of great parents and a lot of great kids. Lets not forget that none of us were actually there.

  66. to Malena:

    Thank God I didn’t have a parent like you who expected perfection at 6 years old.

  67. MS you and all of those that are worried about germs in the toilet, I have been in the health care or related industry for 30 years and I can tell you that your child gets just as many germs from the door knob, running around the playground, from your dog licking him or even from your kiss on the forehead. Why not give him a dollar bill that thousands have handled or a coin and let him put it in his mouth.
    Quit your whining about the “dirty” toilet. Don’t put the wront paper in the toilet and you won’t have to take it out. Discipline can sometimes be a tough thing but sometimes it takes being tough to train a child in the ways of responsibility. As has been said by others, this is the exact reason we have 8 year old bringing guns to school. They don’t have to answer for their acts. They get pampered and know that if they get in trouble for doing something wrong and are disciplined in any way then their parents will sue. They hold a gun to the school systems head and say “I dare you”.
    No wonder this country is so screwed up with people like you running your HR departments.

  68. to Fred C:

    I worked for a man like you. Hated it.

  69. To Cindy
    I bet you don’t like anybody that makes someone, whether adult or child, do what they are told and be responsible for their actions and then discipline them for it.
    It is people like YOU that have our country over run with illegal aliens (undocumented immigrants for you), trying to play footsy and patty cake with terrorist and actually think that we are still in a global warming stage of regular earth cycles of hot and cold.
    I can guarantee you wouldn’t last long working for me if you didn’t want to do what you are told to do.

  70. Fred C –
    I agree that this world is a dirty place. Not arguing with you there. But do you then encourage your children to be dirty and collect germs from wherever they can find them? Might as well teach them not to bother washing their hands ’cause they’ll just pick up more germs anyway. I’m not sure who you think approves of children or anyone putting money in their mouths. Is this something you run into regularly?

    Discipline is necessary but doesn’t always have to be “army grade” as mentioned by another poster. Children are children and they make mistakes. They can even be a little devious at times. Sure, there are many who have no discipline and major behavior issues. But there are even more who simply make bad choices on occasion. It doesn’t mean they’re generally evil and deserve the wrath of some who have posted here. Children suffer if they do not receive proper guidance. But they can also suffer if they’re never allowed to make mistakes.

    How do you get from disciplining children to the country being screwed up by HR professionals? HR departments can end up being the ones who have to carry out discipline and guidance that was never provided to employees growing up. These employees need someone to knock down their sense of entitlement and “serve me” attitude. Managers won’t often fulfill this role, so it’s left to HR.

    Finally, I don’t know many people who would last long working for you. Accusing a random person of being pro-terrorist and the reason for illegal aliens is very professional.

  71. It scares me that most of you work in HR. Where is your human kindness, sense of decency and wish to teach and help others?

    If a principal did this to my 5 year old daughter, I’d want their head on a platter too. His actions were obnoxious and not the proper way to handle the situation. Should he be fired, probably not. But, at the end of the day, what parent would want this guy making decisions about their children? Not most of us.

    Children do learn by example and they learn by discipline. I think a normal person would have told the child that putting paper towels in the toilet is a bad thing to do. I think a normal person would have said if you do it again, there will be consequences. I think a normal person would have sent a note home to the parents (ask that it be returned signed) and asked the janitor to clean it up. If it happened again, then progressive discipline.

    There are proper ways to handle things and improper ways to handle them. This was improper.

    Before you attack me: I have never sued anyone and don’t plan to. We discipline our daughter. People say my daughter is a very well behaved child.

    And I believe that not always are the people in the power positions perfect people, with perfect training and perfect intentions.

  72. To Fred C

    Believe me, I wouldn’t WANT to work with you. IN HR, I think you have to find a balance of pro-company and being supportive of the team members who are the companies bread and butter. It IS possible. and please don’t htink you know me…I believe in accountibility as much as the next guy. I have four kids who are turning out pretty good. They are caring people so I must have done something right and want to work for what they have in life. People who pre-judge without knowing facts should NOT be in the HR profession.

  73. to Kelly:

    I agree. This should never be in the courts but the principal did not handle this correctly. Filing a lawsuit is over the top. I would NOT put my bare hand in my own toilet so why would I want my child to do so in apublic toilet.

  74. If he had the young man wash his hands thouroughly after the act, he actually taught him two good lessons. If your son did this at home, what would you have done?

  75. Have you people even read the whole story???? This 6 year old little boy used the paper towels because the incompetent janitor had not stocked up toilet paper in the bathroom. The boy thought he was doing the right thing which in my opion, what else was he to do. At least he used something!! By making this boy clean out the toilet with his bare hands for using an alternative method other than an unsanitary approach, this principal has probably traumatized this poor boy. He is only 6 years old for crying out loud. In my opinion this principal should be fired and if I were the boys parents I would be charging him with child abuse. I wouldn’t even make my own children clean out a toilet with their bare hands let alone a public toilet.

  76. JP, calm down, that is exactly what is wrong with society. Charge him with child abuse? What good would that do? Seriously, this nation is too “sue happy” and “I’m entitled” attitude. You could not probably win that case, not that there isn’t some guilt, but there probably isn’t a violation. And seriously, charging him doesn’t change what happened, and quite frankly, the boy probably wasn’t that traumatized.

    Also, what the janitor did was probably irrelevant. The principal may not have known there was not any toilet paper, and the child may not have said that was the reason for using paper towels.

  77. To Ross: If no one “knew”, then maybe they should of investigated a little further. No, I don’t htink principle should be sued or fired but he should be strongley disciplines. It was wrong what he did and I get tired of teachers/principals getting away with this kind of thing. I’ve known principals who’ve gotten away with physical abuse.

  78. Cindy – if you “knew” teachers/principals who’ve gotten away with physical abuse – why didn’t you speak up? Perhaps if these teachers/ principals had been tougher on you, you would have learned to spell properly.

  79. Last I checked, a single slip did not equal 5 different errors…..

  80. Let’s stop already with the snide remarks and get to work.

  81. Lajgirl says:

    Kids do get away with way to much in today’s society and parents are way to quick to blame teachers as abusive when they are just trying to teach the child how to act. On the other hand, teachers can be unfair and somewhat mean to kids at times. Maybe due to frazzled nerves from being caught between bratty kids and over-permissive parents? Hmmm…Worth talking about but this article only talks about one very young child with not history of wrong doing. I have 3 children (ages 17, 16 & 7) and everyone seems to have an opinion about how they have been raised and their manners, style of dress and so on… I like my kids, they talk to me about things that are important. Their grades are good and they have never been in any trouble beyond getting a little talkative in class. I might have made one of my children clean up that kind of a mess at that age at home but would I have wanted a principal making one of my children do that at school in a public bathroom–no way! The boy was six and if the principal can’t adjust the punishment to the age of the child, he needs some help learning age-appropriate techniques. I think the principla was wrong but should not be fired for it. I think the parents should calm down a little–what is done, is done. Maybe one of the kindergarten teachers should consel the child next time it happens instead of having the principal deal with it since the teacher deals with children that age all day and is less intimidating to the child. (and yes, it will happen again–they are six years old for crying out loud! and yes, a principal can be very scary to a six year old who would probably be more worried about the here and now and not making the principal upset than he would be about learning to clean up his own messes)
    In theory, great idea by the principal; in practice, applied to a child too young.

  82. Lajgirl says:

    Sorry for my spelling… I know how to spell but was concentrating on the content and have been spoiled myself by spell-checker technology. I apologize if anyone finds my post difficult to read.

  83. If these comments are truly about the story that was on here over a month ago then why in the world are we still worrying about this little boy. Let’s move on to something new. There are many more exciting stories to comment on.

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