School superintendent defends Oklahoma school after left-hand controversy

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A school superintendent is defending the teacher behind the left-handed controversy inside an Oklahoma pre-k classroom.

It’s an update to the story Monday night.

A 4-year-old child was allegedly forced to use his right hand at Okemah’s Oakes Elementary, even though he’s left-handed.

The teacher sent home an article calling left-handedness “evil.”

Wednesday, we sat down with the superintendent of Okemah Public Schools.

He said he’s looked into what happened and doesn’t believe the pre-k teacher tried to force the little boy to become right-handed.

But, the superintendent told us, without a doubt, that article sent home about the devil and being a lefty was way out of line.

The child, Zayde, is in pre-k.

His mom wondered why he was doing his homework with his right hand and exchanged notes with Zayde’s teacher.

She got an article from the teacher, calling left-handedness “unlucky,” “evil” and “sinister.”

Since our story aired, superintendent Tony Dean has been answering a lot of angry phone calls.

“I was appalled, aggravated that it was sent out,” Dean said.

That article angered Dean.

He said Zayde’s teacher never should have sent that home.

“We have followed proper policy on what needs to be done here, and we went to work Friday as soon as we found out about the information,” Dean said.

Zayde’s mom has talked with Dean a couple times now and isn’t happy.

“There was no suspension of any kind,” Alisha Sands said. “There was basically nothing done to this teacher.”

Dean told Newschannel 4 he took appropriate disciplinary action against the teacher but wouldn’t go into detail.

He also said the teacher doesn’t have anything against lefties.

“In fact, her husband is left-handed,” Dean said. “Her full-time aide is left-handed.”

While he is angry about the article, he doesn’t believe Zayde’s teacher ever forced him to write with his right hand.

“From my investigation, talking to many, many people, we feel that the teacher has never told a student, any student not to use their left hand,” Dean said.

Zayde’s mom disagrees.

“I just asked, is there anything his teachers ever asked about his hands,” Sands said. “And, he raises this one and says, ‘This one’s bad.'”

Wednesday, she transferred Zayde to a new class.

Dean told us the teacher has been with Okemah Public Schools for 8 years.

This has changed the district’s policy on communication between teachers and parents.

We’re told everything will now have to be filtered through the superintendent’s office.

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