She is dismissed after video shows her berating pupils and using a racial epithet
TEACHER FIRED: A Baltimore teacher has been fired after she was captured on video shown on social media using a racial epithet as she shouted at a classroom of middle-school students at Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School.
A Baltimore City teacher has been fired after she was captured on video using a racial epithet as she shouted at a classroom of middle-school students, school officials said.
If you don’t get an education, she yelled at the class, you will wind up being “a punk-ass n— — who’s going to get shot.”
Baltimore school officials confirmed that the incident happened Tuesday at Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School in West Baltimore and said the teacher, whom they did not identify, has been fired. The school is mostly black; the teacher is white. The video has been viewed online more than 1 million times.
The teacher “engaged in verbally abusive behavior and made racially charged comments directed at students,” the system said in a statement Thursday.
Baltimore schools CEO Sonja Santelises said later she was “appalled” by the video, which was brought to her attention Wednesday. She said after watching it, she had the teacher dismissed.
“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 said.
She said she did not believe the video illustrated classroom management problems or a lack of support for teachers.
“There are many people who struggle with classroom management, but they don’t resort to hate language,” Santelises said. “We can’t provide enough support to counteract what’s in someone’s heart.”
Santelises said the teacher was a secondyear science teacher hired through the Baltimore City Teaching Residency pro- gram, an alternative certification program the school system has used for years. She noted that BCTR teachers have a mentor in their classrooms for the first half of their first year and receive continuing support and training — including diversity courses, which Santelises said this teacher had completed.
“It reminds us that we have to be vigilant and proactive about making sure people understand that we value diversity and are intolerant about intolerance,” Santelises said.
In a statement, the Baltimore Teachers Union said it “condemns the language used” by the teacher.
“The union stands together with Baltimore City public schools in supporting respectful and equitable learning environments for all our students,” the statement said.
The one-minute video shows the teacher grabbing a male student by the hood on his jacket as she yells at him to leave her class.
She turns to the rest of the class and screams, “Whoelse needs to freaking leave?”
The teacher continues to yell at the class, saying she had given them classwork to do.
“You are getting zeros for doing nothing,” she says, as one student stands next to her with a computer.
She continues to berate the students, saying “You’re idiots!”
She then yells the comment with the epithet, and calls the students “stupid.”
Students in the video appeared visibly stunned.
City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young tweeted about his disappointment in what he saw in the video.
“It turns my stomach to think about this woman in front of a classroom of impressionable young minds,” Young said. “There’s zero tolerance for adults who violate our young people. That video is proof that we have more work to do as a city and a country.”
Schools CEO Sonja Santelises said the video “reminds us that we have to be vigilant and proactive about making sure people understand that we … are intolerant about intolerance.”