Thursday, April 10, 2008

Baltimore City teacher beaten by female student

Hat-tip Newsalert.

This article reminds me of a couple of things. I don't know if things are worse now then they were when I was in high school. But I've heard of teachers getting assaulted by students. I also remember when an assistant principle was threatened by female student with this young lady telling the assistant, "I'll beat your ass!"

Something is wrong here. If this teacher had said she'll defend herself and if the parent was as twisted as the student, this parent would be up there trying to argue with the teacher. The line would probably be, "How dare you put your hands on my child!"

The funny thing is the parent, presumably it could be the mother, heard only one side of the story and the child could always embellish the story no matter how implausible. I think this also happened one time when I went to African-American history class one period and my teacher there was arguing with a parent alleging that he was picking on her daughter. I'm sure there are better ways to handle that, but instead she comes to school to argue about that in front of the students. I wonder if she really cares about her daughters grades and if she even questions whether or not it's her own daughter's fault if she's not doing well.

Anyway off to the article. If The Wire was on, there should be an episode about this. Either way, there has to be an answer to this. If they threw this young girl in jail for this assualt, that ought to be a huge lesson to this young lady without a doubt...
The trouble began, Jolita Berry said, when she asked a girl in one of her art classes at Reginald F. Lewis High School to sit down.

The student did not obey, coming closer to confront the teacher. "She said she's gonna bang me," Berry said. "I said, 'Back up, you're in my space. If you hit me, I'm gonna defend myself.'"

But Berry, who is 30 and started her job teaching art at the Northeast Baltimore school in December, did not defend herself. The girl caught the teacher off guard as other students cheered her on and screamed, "Hit her!"

"She just started beating on me relentlessly," Berry said, recalling the Friday morning incident that left her with a sore shoulder and a broken blood vessel in her eye.

As it turned out, one of the kids in the class was recording what happened on a cell phone. Video footage was posted on the social networking site MySpace and aired on local television news, showing a teenage girl hitting a woman lying on the floor.

The woman's face is not visible.

By yesterday, the head of the Baltimore Teachers Union and Mayor Sheila Dixon were pointing to the incident in calling for the city school system to dedicate more resources to reducing classroom violence.

State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick told WBAL Radio that she was "horrified" and said that increased character education, community partnerships and parental responsibility are needed.
Yeah, no kidding. A good parent should make it know that this type of behavior is intolerable. On the other hand I understand that parents aren't perfect. They're either heavy handed in their application of discipline or very light. I have no way of knowing and this article doesn't mention it, but I can suspect that her parents lack of parenting may not have helped this young lady at all.

Oh this has got to be the stupidest thing I've ever read in this article...
Part of the public outrage stemmed from how Berry said her principal responded to the incident. She said the principal told her she'd provoked the attack by telling the student she would defend herself.

"That principal might need to be disciplined because no teacher should be disrespected in the classroom," Dixon said at a morning news conference.

While teachers also have to respect students, the mayor said, the principal's response "is unfair to that teacher."

Berry said that she was also frustrated that the principal did not remove the student from the school immediately. As she left the school Friday to go to a medical clinic, Berry said, she had to pass by the girl, bragging to her friends about what she'd done.

The principal, Jean Ragin, did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages yesterday.
Sometimes I think the reasoning of school administrators are questionable. I've done at least two or maybe three posts on the idea of zero-tolerance. The idea being that zero-tolerance unfortunately throws due-process out of the window.

A girl can be suspended for merely being the assaulted, another girl for defending herself, another student for merely turning in a gun he found, and another I wrote about yesterday a six year old boy written up for sexual harassments. While I think schools should discipline their students, I really don't think school boards should go overboard with their disciplining policies. If 0-tolerance goes over board that's as much of a problem as not getting rid of the bad apples.

Like I've always said the schools are not serving a social service function. Schools should be allowed to kick out unruly students, especially those who would assault a teacher in her classroom. The young lady should not only be suspended but sent to jail. I know that I'm not the one making that decision.


Anonymous said...

Another teacher beating in Baltimore today.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I can't even believe these kids get away with this! ANY student doing this should be #1 put in JAIL for assault and #2 expelled from the school! are these schools now endorsing violence against their own teachers or what!? that principal should be FIRED too! how unprofessional! teachers need to organize and form groups against this.

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