Philadelphia School Staff Yanks Student’s Teeth Out for Chewing On Sweater

February 22, 2014  |  

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We worry more and more that school is no longer a safe place for our children. Earlier this week, 7 year-old Harmani Osbi returned home from school with three of her front baby teeth in hand. The only problem was they didn’t come out on their own. Her mother claims they were pulled out by a therapeutic worker at the school.

Osbi attends Solis Cohen Elementary school in Northeast Philadelphia.  She is a part of a class for children with behavioral issues. According to NBC News, Osbi has a specially trained therapeutic worker assigned to her by Children’s Crisis Treatment Center. Her mother Tomeka Speller claims her daughter was chewing on her sweater and refused to stop when her therapeutic worker told her to do so. She then says the worker forcefully pulled the sweater from Osbi’s mouth pulling the primary teeth with it. Speller calls the action an outright “attack”:

“She should be getting the support that she needs, not getting attacked in the classroom.”

“She used excessive force. She just said, ‘I’m not having this today’ and she yanked it out. Just because you’re having a bad day does not mean you’re going to mistreat my child!”

School district officials are reportedly filing a complaint with police and the Department of Human Services. The therapeutic worker has been suspended by her employer.

Since when did dentistry become a part of school support staff’s training?  We’ve witnessed our fair share of parents overreacting to a little old-fashioned discipline, but this may be taking things a tad bit too far. When will schools learn that students bring all kinds of learning levels and behaviors to the classroom that all need to be addressed differently? If these teachers aren’t being accused of sexual affairs with adolescents, they’re assaulting them. Parents shouldn’t have to be more worried about their child’s safety in the classroom than when they’re waiting on the corner for the school bus.

Do you think the therapeutic worker traumatized Harmani or was this a harmless mistake?

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