Teachers’ ‘Smashing’ Draws Criticism

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Montgomery County principal is apologizing after encouraging teachers to destroy an old chair. The unconventional way to de-stress is gaining traction nationwide.

Devin Bartolotta has more on the growing trend, and why doctors say destruction isn’t necessarily healthy.

One Maryland principal calls this incident a lapse in judgment,  but for some – baseball bats and even sledgehammers are a big part of letting off steam.

A sign that’s blown up on social media reads “Enjoy the SMASH,” instructing teachers to wear safety goggles and not wear open-toed shoes before taking a baseball bat to a broken chair outback.

“It was outside on the loading dock where they throw the trash into the trash trucks,” says Tom Cosgrove.

“This was maybe a poor judgment decision,” says Corry Hoffeditz, a parent and substitute teacher.

“Maybe it wasn’t the right thing but it’s completely been taken out of context. It was really harmless. None of the children knew about it until now.”

But some parents weren’t amused, calling the smash space “outlandish,”

The principal wrote she was inspired by places like Anger Room in Dallas — that let you destroy stuff to let off some steam.

“The anger room is just an additional outlet for people who need more of a physical outlet, versus a verbal outlet,” says Donna Alexander, with the Anger Room.

And although destruction might take off the edge, doctors recommend more consistent ways of dealing with stress day to day.

“It doesn’t actually help you.”

Dr. Miriam Alexander of Sinai Hospital says a stress ball – or deep breathing – could be more helpful.

“I always like it if people can take a couple of seconds. And it’s really one, two, three,” says Dr. Alexander.

As for smashing things at school, the district says it does not condone the behavior and is committed to helping teachers manage stress in other ways.

Montgomery County Schools is still investigating this incident, saying it’s counter to their core values.

There are no official ‘Anger Rooms’ in Maryland, but there are similar places in North Carolina and Toronto.

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