Teacher punishes student, mother outraged

(Photo: CNN/BAY NEWS 9)
(Photo: CNN/BAY NEWS 9)

LAKELAND, FL (CNN/BAY NEWS 9) – A Florida mother is furious after a teacher punished her son by making him wear a sign around his neck after missing an important assessment test.

Sleepy Hill middle school eighth grader Thomas Cancellare missed his FCAT writes test last week because he was at home sick.

"I just felt like horrible. I could barely get out of the chair without throwing up," said Thomas.

He even had this doctor's note to prove his illness was real, but said when he came back to school this week his teacher put a humiliating note around his neck.

"It said, since I have decided that I will come to school today but I didn't come to school during the FACT."

Thomas claimed the teacher did nothing as classmates laughed.

"She just made me feel like I'm worthless."

Thomas said the school's principal took the note off his neck when she saw kids laughing at him in the lunchroom.

His mother, Daphne Cancellare, is upset with the way her son's absence was handled.

"I was flipping mad. I was ranting and raving in my house, looking up laws of things that what she had done was wrong," said Cancellare.

Cancellare said the principal told her the teacher was told what she had done was wrong and the teacher did give Thomas a handwritten letter of apology.

In the letter, the teacher wrote that she meant what she did to be a friendly correction rather than ridicule, and that she felt they had a good rapport.

The apology letter isn't good enough for Cancellare, who instead wants some formal discipline.

"There is a zero tolerance policy for a student to bully each other. Well, how is there a no tolerance that they allow a teacher to bully a student," said Cancellare.

Cancellare said he has been transferred to a new teacher.

Copyright 2012 CNN/BAY NEWS 9. All rights reserved.