Tuesday, January 25, 2011

E. Tx teacher disciplined for taping talkative student's mouth - KLTV 7 News Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |

E. Tx teacher disciplined for taping talkative student's mouth - KLTV 7 News Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A Lufkin mother is angry after she says her son's mouth was duct taped shut. 
Javier Mijares said he was talking in one of his seventh grade classes when his teacher, Jessica Cotton, taped his mouth for an hour and a half to make him stop.  The incident happened in September 2010. 
The Lufkin Independent School District administrators found out about it this month and interviewed Javier.  Javier told his mother about the school's interview. 
He said he was worried he would get in more trouble with his teacher if he told.  "It was hard for me to have the tape on my mouth because I couldn't breathe. It was very hard to and I had my retainers and it hurt," Javier Mijares said. 
Javier is now in a different class. 
School officials said they don't condone the behavior and the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against the teacher. 
Superintendent Roy Knight said LISD immediately began investigating and found the teacher had in fact used tape to keep a few students quiet.  "I agree completely with the parent. This was inappropriate, shouldn't have happened and is not our protocol for keeping kids from talking out loud in class. It was wrong, we shouldn't have done it. Where we're in disagreement with the parent is over the discipline for the teacher," Knight said.
Knight declined to comment specifically on any disciplinary action for an employee or student, however, he did confirm the teacher does still work for the district.
Mijares said Jessica Cotton did apologize to her, but not to her son. "They need to give her some time off or, you know, she needs some help."  Mijares said she wasn't sure if she would try to pursue criminal charges.

Here's the part where I put in my two cents worth!!  This makes me incredibly angry.  You see, I have a child who talked non stop in school.  It's very annoying to read the comments left on this post on KLTV because most assume the child is a disrespectful hellion.  I can tell you from experience that this is simply not always the case. 

Jackie was put in the Gifted/Talented program in first grade.  She had an amazing talent for soaking in information and doing outstandingly well on standardized tests.  I am very thankful to this day for her teacher Mrs. Phyllis Cavazos who pioneered a trial program called "multi age" classrooms.  They had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in one classroom together.  The kids rotated around at stations and worked at their own pace.  It was one of the few classrooms who had 100% scores on their TAAS tests each year.  Because of this classroom setup, Jackie didn't get in trouble near as often for talking during class time.

As the years progressed, I spent many an hour in the teachers classrooms and wrote many a note and spent many an hour listening to Jackie tell me how she got in trouble that day for talking in school.  I realize it's hard for the other kids to listen while someone is talking.  I also realize when you have a kid who is really smart, and who to come to find out later has a photographic memory, its REALLY HARD. 

I am writing this blog to talk about an incident that occurred when Jackie was in the eighth grade.  In the eighth grade, Jackie weighed about 60lbs.   

She was in gym class and apparently had been talking.  The gym teacher got mad, and made her do jumping jacks.  Not just a few, and I didn't find out how many until the next day.  At that point I was ready to kill someone.  Jackie came home from school that afternoon, and I don't guess she wanted to tell me she had gotten in trouble in gym.  She ate dinner and went to bed early.  The next morning....SHE COULD NOT STAND UP OR GET OUT OF BED.  When she finally told me the whole story, her gym teacher, out of anger had made her do 700 jumping jacks.  YES, 700.  You can only imagine the pure ANGER we felt and how quick we were to call the school, the principal, and the Superintendent.  There was a meeting later in the day with my husband and the aforementioned people.  All I remember is my husband telling me that when he left that meeting the gym teacher was bawling. 

We didn't sue, everything just kind of sorted itself back out.  We dealt with this sort of thing until the day she left the eleventh grade out of frustration for getting in trouble for talking too much still, and got her GED and went straight to college.  She has now graduated with an Associates Degree and is pursuing her Bachelors degree.  She is not, nor has she ever been a disrespectful bad kid.  I know that teachers have the gamut of intelligence spans in their classrooms.  I see sooooo much being focused on the kids who aren't catching on, yet nothing done to accomodate the kids who are gifted.  They are usually the ones carrying the test scores for the schools in my opinion.   What I would like to see is for teachers to think outside of the box, and I know they have a lot on their plates, but there are some kids who need to have something else to do in the classroom, a leadership role, bang the erasers, check homework, find what makes those talkative kids tick and you won't have a problem if their minds are busy. 


  1. oh yesssssssss! I was a lot like Jackie...talked incessantly. Was in trouble alll the time and had report cards with a big red x on the talks too much in class...I had a photographic memory so much so I could see the list of spelling word- in the box they appeared in in the book - in order. Being little, I thought everyone could do that so why did we need a test? I just copied what I saw in my head and was done with it. It was a blessing many times (the memory) but other times it was a huge thorn. My 3rd grade teacher was a wonderful young teacher who saw I needed more to do. She'd let me collect papers, pass out papers, do errands in the building and she set up her classroom so we all got to work at our own pace in each subject. What a difference it made! Kudos to Jackie for how far she's come and as far as duct tape...Hell no! Great blog. Hugs :o)

  2. No wonder we get along so well and understand each other so well!! :D I must have some version of that...I can read a 500 page book in one day and remember most of what I read.

    I am very proud of all that she has accomplished!!



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