Am I evil? No, I’m 4 and left-handed.

In a “what century is it again?” moment from Oklahoma, a parent of a preschooler must take action against a teacher who thinks being left handed is a sign of evil.

Source: Oklahoma Pre-K teacher allegedly calls being left-handed ‘evil’ and ‘sinister’ |

A 4-year-old was allegedly forced by his teacher to write with his right hand, even though he’s left-handed.

The child was sent home with a letter about how left-handedness is often associated with evil and the devil.

The mother, Alisha Zayde, also a lefty, appears to have stayed calm sending the teacher a note saying the child had always favored his left hand. The teacher sent home “literature” about how left-handedness is associated with the devil.

How backwards! What other old legends does this teacher believe? Such assertions have no place in the classroom. According to the mother and the news station, the Oakes Elementary school did not respond appropriately to this incident and it appears the District is investigating. As appropriate, the parent is filing a complaint to the state. It makes the teaching of Creationism seem modern!


Talk to the HAND!

Roughly 10 percent of people are left-handed and there is a genetic disposition towards handedness. However, it’s clear that using the left hand as dominant was discouraged, that it was better to be “right“, just like this old-timey teacher held, for many decades prior to this, until about 1940 for sure. It’s time that ended. Completely – it’s a silly, antiquated, prejudiced superstition.

  32 comments for “Am I evil? No, I’m 4 and left-handed.

  1. ScienceMonkey
    September 22, 2015 at 7:09 PM

    Sinister? That is technically accurate. “The executioner held his sword sinister.”

    Evil? Have you even been in a room full of four year olds? It has nothing to do with the hand the child favors.

  2. September 22, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    Wow, I didn’t think there were people like this left in the teaching profession! Truly scary!

    My son was in special ed up until high school, and I only ran across the antiquated bias against left-handedness one time. It wasn’t my child, but another one who was made to write using his right hand, and I complained to the principal and the school psychologist about it. (I had a friend who was forced to do this in school, and it was very traumatic for him, so much so that he developed a stutter, so I had seen what this practice could do to someone.)

    At any rate, the school made the teacher stop forcing that child to use his right hand. I never did find out why she had this bias against left-handedness, though since this was in Tennessee (Memphis area) it very well could have been this idea of the devil. At least she had the sense to not express that, if that is how she thought.


  3. One Eyed Jack
    September 22, 2015 at 9:44 PM

    We are all left-handed.

    Amino acids are chiral molecules, meaning each amino acid has a left and right mirror structure, just like our hands. Chirality is also referred to as handedness. Though chemically identical, the left and right structures react differently in biological systems. Humans are composed almost exclusively of left-handed amino acids.

    Embrace your left-handedness.

  4. Mark Riegel
    September 22, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    According to the Wikipedia article on Okemah, Oklahoma, where this event took place, more than 26% of its residents identify as Native American. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that some Native American cultures share the old European prejudice against left-handers. Perhaps this pre-school teacher was acting out of deeply-held tribal spiritual beliefs.

    My wife and I are both lefties. Both our children favor their right hands. We don’t know what went wrong.

    (BTW, Okemah is the birthplace of Woody Guthrie.)

  5. Rook
    September 22, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    I’m not sure what academic qualifications are required to become a pre-K teacher in Oklahoma, but this teacher needs to go back to school and take a refresher course in human biology.

  6. six_ball
    September 22, 2015 at 11:12 PM

    How about those of us that are ambidextrous? Are we only 1/2 evil?

  7. Lagaya1
    September 22, 2015 at 11:37 PM

    That’s a whole bunch of speculation and guessing wrapped up in that comment. Is the teacher Native American? Don’t know. Do Native Americans hold some ancient beliefs about left-handedness? Don’t know. Let’s stay with the facts as much as possible. Guessing and speculation is not helpful particularly when addressing cultural activities and beliefs that may or may not even exist.

  8. Bill T.
    September 23, 2015 at 2:19 AM

    Beat me to it but with much more cogency than I would likely achieved.

  9. Lagaya1
    September 23, 2015 at 2:46 AM

    But of course, it should read “guessing and speculation ARE…” I made an edit and didn’t carry it through correctly. Grrrrr.

  10. Mike C.
    September 23, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    Well, it’s Oklahoma, the same state that edited out “evolution” in Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series.

  11. BEAN
    September 23, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    I can remember my “sweet” very religious grandmother, 50 years ago, physically punishing my niece for using her left hand to do things, because it was Satan’s work. I loved my grandmother, but she took her religion seriously to a fault and was about as evil in a lot of things as the come.

  12. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    September 23, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    My ex is left handed and even that didn’t get me to believe this ancient ‘wisdom’.

  13. Tony
    September 23, 2015 at 9:38 AM

    On the other “hand,” perhaps she’s Roman Catholic? 7% of Oklahomans are said to be RC, and if lapsed Catholic memory serves me correctly, they make the sign of the cross exclusively with their right hand.

  14. CLamb
    September 23, 2015 at 4:05 PM

    The letter doesn’t support the claims made by KFOR. It doesn’t accuse left-handed people of the things the reporter says it does. What it does do is mention these beliefs as historical background. See

  15. Lagaya1
    September 23, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    Well, it sorta does… and why would a teacher send such a letter home with a left-hander anyway, unless she also thought there was something wrong with the child?

  16. Kevin Fries
    September 23, 2015 at 9:28 PM

    On the “other hand”, sugars are right handed. I guess it depends on whether you want to be sweet, or strong.

  17. Kevin Fries
    September 23, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    My grandma was left handed, and went to Mennonite one room school. Not that there is anything in being Mennonite that pertains to left or right handedness. Every time she would use her left hand to write it was struck with a stick. She eventually learned to write with both hands, until her stroke left her with no choice which hand to use. This is an extremely cruel and unnatural way to try to change the uniqueness of each child.

    However, it is also well described that being left-handed can shorten your life expectancy, simply as a function of the number of every day items and tools designed for right hand use, which increase the chances for a left handed person to have a serious, even fatal accident with things such as powertools, saws, hammers, and pencils. Okay, the last three are just made up (I am underhanded, not left or right), but powertools are a great example

  18. Mike C.
    September 24, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    My Dad is left handed. I’ll have to tell him about this. 😉

  19. CLamb
    September 24, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    Because educating people is what teachers do.

  20. Lagaya1
    September 24, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Did you read the rest of the article? Were the teachers other actions just education?

    Children at 4 take everything personally. Was the letter sent just to that parent, emphasizing the “otherness” of their child? Worse yet, did the teacher “educate” the whole class with that letter? What part of the letter do you think they’ll remember? How will that child be treated by classmates who think that people of the past had their doubts so…..

    These are 4 and 5 year olds!

    I took issue with your comment as condescending, and I’m 62.

  21. Rand
    September 24, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    I write with my left hand. I eat with my left hand. I use scissors with my left hand (cursing the whole time… do you have any idea how hard it is to get most scissors to cut properly when used with your left hand?) About the only thing I do with my right hand is wipe my butt. There are a few things which require both hands to do (playing guitar for instance) in which I technically play “right handed”, howver, it’s actually my left hand which is doing all the complicated tricky stuff. Although I’m sure plenty of people have called me evil in the past, I’ve never been called that because of left-handed-ness.

    I do note though, as far as writing is concerned, being left handed is a huge drawback. You end up smearing your hand accoss what you just wrote, making for a messy paper, which my teachers complained about endlessly back when I was in school.

  22. Lagaya1
    September 24, 2015 at 5:58 PM

    I’ve noticed that if I hold a pen in each hand and write with my dominant hand (right), my left hand can easily mimic the writing at the same time, but in mirror image. Otherwise, I cannot write left-handed at all. Maybe we should teach the lefties to write right-to-left, and have the teacher hold it up to a mirror to read. That would solve the smearing problem…. Or just give everyone a keyboard.

  23. CLamb
    September 25, 2015 at 3:27 PM

    The only other relevant fact in the article was that at least one of the child’s teachers gave it the idea that using the left hand is wrong. The teacher who left the child with that impression should not have done so. The article doesn’t mention if the teacher who gave the student the idea is the same one who sent home the letter. Your comment contains a great deal of speculation. I don’t think people should be criticized for what others think they might have done–only for what we know they did do.

  24. Lagaya1
    September 25, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    And you are speculating that the child has multiple teachers. I don’t see that anywhere in the article. Kindergartners generally do not have multiple teachers.

    None of us knows exactly what happened, and I’m sure it’s been spun to make it more sensational. But nothing here sounds like the way to educate a 4 year old; most of whom just want to fit in with their peers and not be pointed out as somehow “other”.

  25. Bill T.
    September 26, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    I’m very much right-handed, and even I have noticed the number of things in our environment that are made assuming right-handedness.

  26. CLamb
    September 26, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    “I just asked ‘Is there anything his teachers ever asked about his hands?’ And he raises this one and says this one’s bad,”

  27. Lagaya1
    September 26, 2015 at 6:03 PM

    You’ve worked so hard at defending this teacher, I’ll let it go. The child is obviously not what’s important here.

  28. Elliott Gussow
    September 27, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    I graduated from high school in 1955. We would occasionally get a substitute algebra teacher who insisted that when a left-handed student demonstrated something on the blackboard that he write with his right hand. The teacher was obviously an old, retired teacher. When I saw this occurring, I thought that it was an antiquated concept. It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century this is still happening.

  29. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 27, 2015 at 10:43 PM

    I am strongly left-handed. When I was a kid, my mother thought she had originally-been left-handed, but (in keeping with school practice of the time) she was forced to write right-handed. (This was in public school in Boston’s Little Italy in the years before WW2.)

    Many years ago in San Diego there was this specialty shop called “The South Paw” which sold left-handed everyday items designed for left-hand use. I picked up a pair of left-handed scissors there, the first scissors I ever used which didn’t crimp my hand. For years afterwards, whenever someone right-handed needed scissors, I’d hand them that pair and watch the fun.

    Another thing I remember is that on the times I would go shooting with some buds while visiting Arizona, almost all firearms safeties, charging handles, turnbolts, etc are set up for right-handed operation only. I’d constantly have to drop the rifle off my shoulder and/or reach over to operate the bolt or safety. (Don’t get me started on the crossbolt safeties you find on a lot of civilian/hunting rifles; for a leftie, it’s not only very awkward, but way too easy to accidentally flick the safety OFF. And when you’re operating a firearm, you do NOT want to compromise any safety precautions.)

    The above paragraph brings to mind some Guns & Ammo magazine editorials from my college days (or was it Soldier of Fortune? It was really hard to tell back then, the editorial policies sounded identical); always carrying on how “In the Good Old Days, they’d have been taught to shoot right-handed, but NOW that Causes Psychological Trauma in our Sensitive New Recruits (aside to comparison with Rugged Communist Supermen)”.

  30. Russian Skeptic
    September 28, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    The official ideology and education of the Soviet Union were atheistic. No Satan therefore. However, left-handed children had been re-trained until the early 1990s. Just out of belief that using one’s left hand was ‘not correct’ way of doing things.

  31. Dave G
    September 29, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    Ned Flanders is very religious– and he ran a store for lefties (The Leftorium). I ask you, if lefthandedness is evil, would he do such a thing? WOULD HE?? Case closed.

  32. Lagaya1
    September 29, 2015 at 11:25 PM

    I think he was trying too hard to appear not evil.

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