The disturbing video of a Baltimore City Public School teacher verbally abusing her students has reverberated widely today.
We applaud the school district for taking swift and decisive action in this situation by firing the teacher. The district demonstrated that some behaviors are wholly unacceptable and that teachers who cross lines of decency will be removed from the classroom immediately.
What we see here is a teacher who is completely unprepared to cope with children in our classrooms. She undoubtedly has not received even basic classroom management training—let alone implicit bias, de-escalation, and restorative practices training—that would provide her with the tools needed to teach children effectively. so that no teacher reaches the boiling point that was evidenced in this scenario. In this instance, the teacher, rather than the students, appears to be the out-of-control child in need of de-escalation, removal, or restraint.
The teacher clearly took personally the children’s disinterest in her lesson. The fact that she removed a child from her classroom for “doing nothing” was bad enough; but by physically grabbing the student and ushering him out of the classroom, she potentially put herself and the child in a dangerous circumstance that could have ended badly. The teacher continued her assault on the entire classroom when she returned from ousting the child. She began by berating the entire class and calling them “idiots.” And to the shock and horror of all, the teacher determined that she could also call the children the N-word. This teacher’s behavior highlights a horrifying trend toward minorities and others that has exploded across America as right-wing political candidates and their supporters have normalized racist and abusive language and behavior.
We cannot afford to have children subjected to racist outbursts from teachers who may now feel empowered to say what they wish. By funding the Positive Schools Center and other projects, OSI is working with Baltimore City Public Schools to ensure that all teachers have the tools needed to understand and establish rapport with the children they teach.