When I learned my daughter had been placed in Miss W’s second-grade class, I began hearing whispers around the playground. There were complaints of strange punishments — something called “the walk of shame” — and of students being yelled at and publicly humiliated. It was also rumored that she was running a boat-parts business off her laptop and cell phone during class time.
“What class is Anna in?” I asked the mother of my daughter’s best friend. Her older daughter had already graduated from the school so she knew the terrain well. “The other one,” she said with a bright smile, not elaborating. But I knew what she wasn’t saying.