A few lessons for middle school teachers in the 21st century: First of all, cell phones are a thing now. Which means you could be recorded by anyone at any time. Fair? Not always. A reality? Absolutely. Second, the N-word is never, ever, EVER OK. When this Baltimore teacher was caught on video calling a student the N-word, she reportedly lost her job. Because obviously.
Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School released a statement on Thursday after a science teacher was filmed screaming at eighth grade students to learn something unless they wanted to "be like a punk ass n----- who's going to get shot." The video was shot by a student in the classroom on Tuesday and reportedly shows the teacher, who is white, losing her temper with the students (who are predominantly black) and referring to them as "idiots."
Harlem Park Elementary said in their statement that this teacher has since been let go because of her "verbally abusive behavior" and "racially charged comments directed at the students". The video was viewed over 1 million times in the first 12 hours after it was shared on Facebook by distraught parent Erica Gales Deminds, who told CNN she has three children at the school and is acquainted with the teacher.
After seeing the video, Deminds said:
The students were being rowdy, they were being disruptive, they were being teenagers pretty much. The teacher was a really good teacher, she was one of my son's favorite teachers. I had met her a few times and she was always very pleasant. She just must have reached breaking point.
Baltimore schools CEO Sonja Santelises was made aware of the video on Wednesday and had the teacher dismissed immediately. She told The Baltimore Sun, "In the current climate, we at city schools are very, very clear about where we stand with hate speech, any kind of obviously discriminatory language."
Santelises didn't feel as though this was a situation where the teacher could have used extra support or better classroom management, noting,
There are many people who struggle with classroom management, but they don't resort to hate language. We can't provide enough support to counteract what's in someone's heart.
While the hateful language was clearly a problem, so was the teacher's physical treatment of a student she ushered out of class later. She allegedly grabbed a boy by the hood and forcibly removed him from the classroom before screaming at the remaining students, "Who else needs to freaking leave?"
As it turns out, she was the one who needed to freaking leave.