This article originally appeared on VICE Canada
A Canadian teacher received a suspension for showing his students Salad Fingers and oh god, I’m so old.
James Thwaites was working as a teacher in a school district just north of Prince George, British Columbia, and, for whatever reason decided to show his junior high students some web videos. The videos he decided to show were Salad Fingers, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, and ASDF Movie. Well, these students, not being old as sin like the rest of us, didn’t know what this stuff was and were understandably creeped out.
Salad Fingers, made by animator David Firth, first came out in 2004 (when I was in Jr. High, oh god, I’m so old) and has had a little bit of a cult following since then. The web cartoon features an uh… weird salad man who gets turned on (?) by rusty shit. (OK, this is creepy.) There is also an entire backstory and lore involving other characters, cannibalism, a possible war, and while I’m sure it is fascinating we do not need to discuss it further.
Moving on, the other two videos are a little more current. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared (which came out in 2011, when I was in university… Jesus Christ, I’m old) is another unsettling YouTube video about puppets being involved in an incredibly dark universe. ASDF Movie, is a collection of short films that is essentially just an animated webcomic which came out in 2008 (which is when I graduated high school… sigh, I’m going to die soon, aren’t I?)
According to the document outlining the suspension, written by BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation Howard Kushner, the incidents took place in January of 2018. The documents feature one of the more bizarre passages you’ll see written in by a government body.
“One called Salad Fingers featured an animated character who says ‘the feeling of rust against my salad fingers is almost orgasmic’ followed by 'I must caress your rusty kettle.' The second film was called Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared which shows puppets drawing skulls, then trying to glue glitter on an anatomical heart, cutting a pie made of bloody meat and writing out the word ‘death.' The third video was called the ASDFmovie which depicts stick characters including one female stabbing each other in a fit of jealousy, and then a number of dead stick children,” Kuchner wrote.
Removed from the Salad Fingers incident, it does seem like Thwaites had some issues with establishing boundaries with his students. He was also reprimanded for talking with his students about “crushes” and, after asking one of his students about his girlfriend, remarked “oh, you’re such a player.” He also told his class about his “expensive” divorce, and how he was dating a woman from abroad.
For subjecting his students to the weird side of YouTube, alongside the above oddness, Thwaites received a two-day retroactive suspension this month.
The document which outlines the suspension, which was signed by Thwaites and the commissioner in early July shows that the teacher acknowledges "demonstrated poor judgement in his interactions with students in sharing inappropriate videos and personal information with them." According to the Coast News, Thwaites stepped down from his position in BC and is now teaching in the Yukon. The suspension was retroactive as his current students would be impacted by his absence if he were to serve the suspension now.
Let’s hope buddy learned his lesson and won’t be showing his students Happy Tree Friends.
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