The new bullying in school: Teachers with cameras

Some months ago, we had a good discussion on NewsCut about people — mostly parents — who temporarily take leave of their job as comforters-in-chief to make a video of their distraught children for some quick laughs online.

Now it’s a teacher’s turn.

In Michigan, a teacher filmed a child stuck in a chair for 10 minutes while she waited for a “maintenance worker” to get him out.

The principal has now been fired. The teacher’s situation isn’t quite known because she’s entitled to some privacy as a school employee. Irony, anyone?

The other parents seem to be rallying around her, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“I am almost at a loss for words, to be honest. My son did nothing wrong, but yet this seems to be another case of blaming the victim,” the boy’s mother wrote in a letter to her attorney.

  • Jim G

    During my 35 year teaching career I usually had a multi-tool in my pocket. There would have been a quick solution to the student’s distress if the teacher also would have had one available and removed four screws holding on the backrest.

    The lesson for teachers and school staff who see this clip is simple: Do not record anything that involves a kid’s behavior in your classroom. There will always be “back seat drivers” who will question decisions you made on the fly. Strangers will misconstrue your words and actions and judge you.

    • Even if it’s recorded, such video has NO business being shared to the public.

      • According to the Freep, it was shown to the rest of the class. I can’t imagine what would possess a teacher to do such a thing.

    • jon

      Multi-tools are considered weapons when you are boarding an airplane, so they are probably discouraged at schools.
      Who knows depending on the spin, and which policies, were applied, the teacher could have ended up in just as much trouble for pulling out a multi-tool to fix the problem as what they did for the film above.

      • Jim G

        I don’t bring my multi-tool to the airport. I did bring one almost every day to my schools unless I forgot it on the dresser. A responsible adult was always in control of it and it came in handy when a desktop or backrest worked loose and escaped. Think Federal Sky Marshal… No not the one in the movie theater this coming week. Now the 6 inch Spanish dagger letter opener a student brought to show off to his friends, that spent the day in the Principal’s office.

  • Thomas Mercier

    I don’t see the issue being with the recording in and of itself without understanding what the teacher’s intent was. There could even potentially be a good explanation as to why the
    principal distributed it to other teachers, although I doubt it with the
    resignation/firing of the principal already. What is troubling is that she shared it with the class. I’d love if somebody could give me a plausible and positive purpose to doing that.

    • Jim G

      The only explanation that I can think of was that this whole episode became high comedic theater. We are in the depths of the worst winter in decades and cabin fever is settling in. The teacher returns from her lunch period to her classroom, the students because of the cold have been confined to their classroom for indoor recess. There are not enough adult supervisors to allot one to each classroom so the available adults move from room to room doing the best they can to keep it safe. The mistake was when the teacher pulled out her phone and started to ask the stuck kid questions. At the same time you can hear her admonishing other kids to watch their behavior. “Do you want to get tasered?” she asks one pupil. That’s when she used the term “tasered” ( A very unfortunate word to use in a school setting, but I’m assuming it was a cute way to get kids’ attention.) It was explained as a specific demerit or action designed on focusing student behavior. I am guessing here, but I’ll bet that after the stuck student was released from his predicament the students in her classroom asked to see the video she had just filmed. They probably gathered around her phone as she played it back, because she wanted to see it too. That’s when she shared it with the Principal. It was probably the comedic characteristic of being stuck that was the reason it was shared with other teachers under the heading,”Kids Do the Craziest Things”. Unfortunately, adults do even crazier things. Admittedly, this is only fictional supposition on my part and I’d like to know what the facts really are. That may be hard to come by now that attorneys are involved.

  • DavidG

    Granted, we don’t necessarily know the full background of either the teacher or Principal, and whether they’ve had disciplinary actions previously, but I do wonder if firing is too much.

    I’m not arguing that they shouldn’t face strong discipline, but it seems for every infraction, we jump to the severe penalty available.

    When the consequences for any screw-up or mistake are the harshest penalties, that’s not an environment in which people are going to be willing to hold themselves accountable.

  • Suzanne

    I have a son on the spectrum (PDD-NOS) and this just makes me want to cry for that boy! Maybe that district DOES need more Special Ed/pull out services for kids on the spectrum, but showing the video to his peers in his class is just HEARTLESS!

    Glad my son hasn’t been treated like this!!! I feel for him, and his parents.

  • ICannotBelieveATeacherDidThat

    The video should not have been made at all. Shame on the teacher for that. And I cannot believe that anyone would be supporting the teacher. Recording a child (especially without the parent’s permission) is a violation of their privacy. And to then post/show it is not only further violation, but it is humiliating to the child, and disrespectful to the child and parent. How does a parent trust a teacher who does this to their child or to a child in the same classroom? How has the world come down to people not have general respect for each other? Why has the world turned to a place that it is ok to videotape someone and then make fun of that person?