Although I appreciate the tongue-in-cheek nature of Edmund Janko’s piece [“The Untouchables,” May/June], I wanted to make the observation that I don’t blame the custodian in his story for not cleaning up the torn-up test paper on the floor of the classroom. It’s disrespectful to simply drop trash and expect someone else to pick it up. As I try to tell kids I work with, “No one is paid enough to clean up a mess you didn’t have to make.” If a teacher isn’t willing to make that point with the student, then the teacher should at least be prepared to clean up the mess. Leaving it for someone else reinforces the assumption that some people are born to clean up after other people, out of sight and out of mind.
Pfafftown, North Carolina
A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2005 edition of Teacher as Dirt Devils