Labels used by TPS school in "Student Development Day" called into question

Published: Dec. 7, 2019 at 8:37 PM EST
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Labels like "teacher's pet," "poor," and "sexist" were placed on TPS students foreheads' Friday during a training focused on school culture, self-development, and team building.

Now, some parents are upset by the approach.

Eva Helschel is a parent of two ninth grade students at the Aerospace and Natural Science Academy of Toledo. She says overall they love the school.

But she wasn't happy after "Student Development Day."

"Very angry and disheartened that it even took place. There's no explanation," said Helschel.

Friday, organizers broke the entire school down into groups for team building exercises. One activity involved each student wearing a label on their forehead with stereotypes including "teacher's pet" and "poor."

"They were then told to act out with what label was placed on the students head in front of them," said Helschel.

Other labels used derogatory terms for women. The leader of "Student Development Day" was a woman who Helschel says doesn't regularly teach at the school.

"The older woman actually said to her (Helschel's daughter), 'Well, I'm sure you have been called this before,' which was inappropriate," said Helschel.

Helscel's children told 13abc that everyone at school felt uncomfortable and awkward. After hearing this, as a parent, she marched into school to talk to the principal.

"I demanded an apology which she did give me. But it's not good enough," said Helschel.

Helschel wants a formal apology sent to all families and reassurance that it will never happen again.

"There's a lot of other ways that this could have been handled," said Helschel.

Full TPS statement:

"Today, students at the Aerospace and Natural Science Academy of Toledo participated in activities focused on school culture, self-development and team building. The training was designed to bring students together and gain a greater understanding of diversity in our community. As part of the exercise, students were labeled with a stereotype that they might encounter today. Students then took part in group discussions, facilitated by staff members, that were meant to provide a greater understanding of what it means for someone to deal with a negative stereotype."

Jim Gant - Deputy Superintendent

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