Par­ent re­grets teacher’s fir­ing over video

Mother says she didn’t mean for her post to end with dis­missal over melt­down

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Erica L. Green erica.green@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Eri­caLG

The mother who posted a video of a white Baltimore teacher be­rat­ing a class of black stu­dents and us­ing a racial ep­i­thet said she re­grets that the melt­down led to the teacher be­ing fired.

Erica Esha De­minds, mother of a Har­lem Park El­e­men­tary/Mid­dle School eighth­grader who was in the sci­ence class, posted the video Wed­nes­day. It quickly went vi­ral and has been viewed more than 7 mil­lion times.

“You take this woman’s whole life and judge it by 1 minute and 30 sec­onds,” said De­minds, who de­scribed the teacher as “a woman who wanted to teach these kids be­cause she’s pas­sion­ate about her job.”

In the video, the teacher is heard yelling at her stu­dents and call­ing them “stupid” and “id­iots.” She tells them that if they don’t get an ed­u­ca­tion, they’ll wind up “a punk-ass n— — who’s go­ing to get shot.” School of­fi­cials said the in­ci­dent took place Tues­day and the teacher was fired the next Baltimore Pub­lic Schools CEO Sonja San­telises stands by the de­ci­sion to fire a teach who shouted a racial ep­i­thet at her stu­dents. day.

The video has drawn wide re­ac­tion on so­cial me­dia, with some out­raged by the teacher’s be­hav­ior and oth­ers sug­gest­ing that she may have been over­whelmed.

De­minds said the teacher, who has not been pub­licly iden­ti­fied, was wrong to use such lan­guage. But she said she doesn’t be­lieve the teacher is racist. De­minds said she posted the video to get re­ac­tion from her rel­a­tives but did not re­al­ize it would be widely dis­sem­i­nated

“It both­ered me to see her that way, but she’s not a nasty teacher,” De­minds said. “She was more so hurt than any­thing be­cause she couldn’t get the kids to learn, and she couldn’t get them to lis­ten.”

She also said she thinks the teacher is be­ing treated un­fairly be­cause she is white. She said she doesn’t con­sider use of the ep­i­thet ap­pro­pri­ate, but says there’s a double stan­dard.

“If this was a black man do­ing it, it would have been a high five,” she said. “Her mes­sage was right — her ap­proach was wrong.”

City school of­fi­cials took swift ac­tion to fire the teacher af­ter learn­ing of the in­ci­dent Wed­nes­day. City schools CEO Sonja San­telises said no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances, the teacher crossed the line.

“The fo­cus of our re­ac­tion was re­ally about the way that teacher went about it, and the way that young peo­ple were treated and ad­dressed,” San­telises said in a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day.

She also re­jected the no­tion that the out­burst re­flected a lack of teacher sup­port and train­ing.

“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.”

The Baltimore Teach­ers Union re­it­er­ated Fri­day that it stood be­hind the school district’s de­ci­sion to fire the teacher.

De­minds said that her son was one of at least two stu­dents sent out of the class for mis­be­hav­ing and that she was em­bar­rassed that he con­trib­uted to the chaos in the class­room. When he got home and told her what hap­pened, De­minds said she didn’t ask him about what the teacher said, but “what did you do?”

The one-minute video shows the teacher grab­bing a male stu­dent by the hood of his jacket as she yells at him to leave her class. She then turns to the rest of the class and screams, “Who else needs to freak­ing leave?”

She goes on to make the in­cen­di­ary com­ments.

De­minds said she thinks the teacher should have been sus­pended or coun­seled in­stead — and given a sec­ond chance.

“Now, she’s at home pick­ing up the pieces of her life,” De­minds said. “She loses her ca­reer, the kids lost their teacher. No­body wins in this sit­u­a­tion.” racially

KEVIN RICHARD­SON/HANDOUT

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