BALTIMORE – A Baltimore student faces assault charges and a teacher is on administrative leave after a fight broke out between the two at Carver Vocational-Technical High School last Friday.
Authorities have not released the name of the teacher or student who were caught on cell phone video fighting in the hallway as a male student attempts to break up the melee.
The fight reportedly started during a test, when the teacher asked the 17-year-old to leave class for using her cell phone, TheRoot.com reports.
The student, a 17-year-old senior, then allegedly pushed a chair in the teacher’s direction before throwing a keyboard and book at her. The teacher reportedly attempted to call for backup, then kicked off her shoes and went after the student, according to media reports.
At one point, the teacher tells the student “I’ll kill you up in here (expletive); what the (expletive) you think this is?” according to the video. Seconds later, the teacher slammed the student into the lockers.
The student’s family faulted the teacher when they spoke to Fox, although they acknowledged the girl appeared to have thrown a book at the teacher, and had been involved in previous fights.
“You send the best child you have to school, maybe a problem child, maybe a good child. But you send the best you have,” said the student’s grandmother, Nancy Jones. “You don’t expect nobody to fight her like that.”
The girl’s aunt was outraged.
“I’m appalled, Nakia Jones told Fox. “You’re supposed to be a role model to these children and you took your shoes off and physically was fighting her like you was out on the street.”
Some parents were also “totally shocked.”
“I was shocked at the student, but most of all the teacher, the way she came back at the girl. Because the teacher had a chance to walk away,” an unidentified woman told Fox.
Earl Halstead, another Baltimore parent, told CBS the teacher should have handled the situation differently.
“I think she could have done it in a more professional way,” Halstead said. “If there were no weapons or nothing involved, I feel the teacher could have tamed the student better than she did.”
Parent Tanya Thompson said she thought the teacher’s reaction was simply instinct.
“Somebody throw something at me, that’s just your natural reaction. Like I said, to defend yourself, it depends on the situation cause no one is going to just stand there and let someone assault them,” Thompson told CBS.
Baltimore City police and school district officials are conducting investigations into the altercation, according to a statement by district spokeswoman Edie House.
“Baltimore City Public Schools takes extremely seriously any incident that disrupts the learning environment and threatens the safety and well-being of students, staff or any member of a school community,” House wrote.
“As the facts of this incident are established, city schools has taken and will continue to take all appropriate action according to personnel policies and the student code of conduct.”
Those reacting to the story online seemed to think the incident was a product of poor parenting, and an era in which students don’t respect their teachers or other adults.
“Parents are young and really don’t know how to raise their children. Children are running the parents!” MS Kinz posted to the CBS site. “Regardless of what steamed this altercation, they both were wrong. There is no respect these days. Back in the day if I had even looked at my teacher funny, I would have been in trouble. We need old school rules back in the schools with these new school kids!”
Commenter K8TPnTz seemed to agree.
“As much as I wouldn’t want a teacher to hurt my child, if my child was throwing things at a teacher and harming the teacher (and if my child was 17 which is BARELY a child), I don’t think I’d mind the teacher defending themselves. It’s BS that a teacher these days pretty much has to stand back and take physical and psychological abuse from children and are in no way able to defend themselves without being fired or called abusive. Let’s go back to the days or paddles on butts and rulers on the knuckles.”