Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Teacher Abuses Gifted Child

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My highly gifted 11-year-old son is failing a couple of courses and becoming frustrated in school because he feels he is treated unfairly by this particular teacher. She has thrown his notebook in the garbage can, intimidated him in front of his peers, and has spoken to him in a rude and abrasive tone of voice. She has not contacted me about any of these problems.

This teacher speaks very rudely and abrasively to me, and she has lied to me about my son in front of others. Unfortunately, she has the support of the principal and one of the vice-principals. I've already spoken to the superintendent's office about the situation and they suggested I file a formal complaint. Would this make matters worse?

A: It appears to me that you have to make a decision between the education your child is receiving in the gifted class and what may be happening to him emotionally due to the teacher's apparent abuse. How is your son feeling about the class? Is he willing to stick it out even if the teacher doesn't change? Is it worth it to both of you that he stay in the accelerated class?

As for filing a formal complaint, it might cause more conflict but you will have to determine if the respectful treatment of your son and perhaps other students is worth the conflict. At this point you have taken some important and appropriate steps in trying to resolve this issue. I don't see that you have anything to lose by filing the formal complaint and you may have a lot to gain. Good luck.

More on: Expert Advice

Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks