Talk to the Hand
Mom: My Left-Handed Kid Was Called Evil
An Oklahoma mom says her 4-year-old son was told not to use his dominant left hand because left-handedness is ‘sinister.’
How can teachers prevent their students from being “sinister?” According to one Oklahoma educator, it’s by making sure they only use their right hands.
“I just asked, ‘Is there anything his teachers ever asked about his hands?’” she told KFOR-TV in Okemah, Oklahoma. “And he raises this one and says this one’s bad.”
Until then, he had used his left hand for everything “from picking things up to throwing things, to batting, to writing, to just coloring you’d do at home with him,” Ms. Sands said. “He’s always, always used his left hand.”
Naturally, she followed up with the teacher by sending her a note at school. The response: an article explaining why left-handedness represents “unlucky,” “evil,” and “sinister” traits, using the devil as an example.
Ms. Sands explained that even after she went to the superintendent the teacher, who has not been named, failed to receive any form of discipline. The teacher explained she believed the mother needed to be educated on the matter. Ms. Sands, however, plans to file a formal complaint with the Oklahoma Board of Education.
The superintendent could not be reached for comment, but the principal at Oakes Elementary said she was aware of the matter and that it is currently being investigated.
Not only was the attempted conversion of left to right hand unnecessary, but the continuation of the act has also been studied as a link to possible cases of learning disorders such as dyslexia and speech disorders, though more recent studies have yet to reinforce or dispute the findings.
“It breaks my heart for him because someone actually believes that, believes my child is evil because he’s left handed,” Ms. Sands said. “It’s crazy.”
Many linguistic interpretations of the word “left” do suggestion a dark side and many cultures still associate left-handedness with evil.
The English translation of left derives from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, which means “weak” while the Sanskrit interpretation is synonymous with “wicked.” In Latin, sinistra—the root of “sinister”—means left.
But as history has documented for years, many lefties (approximately 10% of the population are left-handed) have gone on to be notable and admired humanitarians, activists, politicians, and artists: Joan of Arc, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Mozart and President Obama just to name a few.
And luckily Zayde won’t have to worry about being judged any more as his mother plans to transfer him to another class with a far less superstitious teacher.