A science teacher at San Jacinto Junior High will keep his job despite a recorded threat to kill a student who was misbehaving in class.
Eighth-grade science teacher Jeffrey Laing was removed from the classroom this week after a student recorded an altercation with a student identified only as Kobe, who told KOSA Laing got in his face about wearing headphones in class and exchanged some words.
“He started getting mad and buffing up to me, calling me trash and dog,” Kobe said.
Kobe said he argued with the teacher before Laing lost his cool and threatened his life.
KOSA transcribed the conversation:
Laing: “You told me to shut up.”
Kobe: “No, because you were being racist. That’s exactly why… Hey, hey you were being racist.”
Laing: “That’s easy to say.”
Kobe: “You was. Hey everybody heard what you said, right?”
Laing: “GET OUT! You get out of my classroom before I kill you. You piece of crap. GET OUT!”
Laing was audibly irate, screaming at the student.
“He should have never said that. That’s another level,” Kobe said. “When he said that, ya, I’m nervous. Because I don’t ever know what he gone do to me.”
Kobe told the news site he’s now in a different class, but school official initially refused to discuss any disciplinary action against Laing.
Midland Independent School District spokeswoman Lacy Sperry offered only a brief statement about the ordeal: “Discipline has been handled by campus administration.”
Sperry confirmed to the Midland Reporter-Telegram that Laing was not in class Wednesday but admitted he “is still employed at San Jacinto Junior High” and essentially will not face any real consequences for his threatening outburst.
“Based on the details of the full investigation, this is not constituting a fireable offense,” Sperry wrote to the news site in an email. “However, if this type of behavior occurs again, then yes, it could constitute as a fireable offense.”
The inaction seemingly contradicts the district’s position on previous clashes between teachers and students. This spring, videos of a teacher at Midland Freshman High School pushing a student, and using obscenities, prompted a strongly worded response from the district’s administration, followed by the teacher’s resignation.
“The behavior displayed by the teacher is unacceptable and is not tolerated in our district,” the statement read. “As soon as campus administrators completed a thorough investigation the teacher was removed from campus and placed on administrative leave for the duration of his contract term which ends June 2nd. The teacher has resigned and will not be part of Midland ISD moving forward.”
That incident followed a different video less than two months earlier that showed two teachers at Goddard Junior High “engaged in inappropriate behavior in the campus gymnasium. That incident also resulted in the teachers resigning after an internal investigation, the Reporter-Telegram reports.