BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore high school teacher was checked out by a doctor and will not be back in class for the rest of the week after being hit by a student on Wednesday.
A video posted on social media shows a student hitting the teacher in the head after apparently getting into another fight with another student. It has been watched more than 100,000 times.
Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English released the following statement on the assault:
“The footage of a student punching one of our members in the face is absolutely deplorable. Our teachers and paraprofessionals work too hard and sacrifice too much of their time, creativity and genuine love for teaching to be treated in such a manner by anyone, including their students.
“As I stated in my testimony before the new school security policy was passed by the School Board last spring, the District must develop and implement policies that not only provide options for students who express this type of behavior, but also protection and other measures for the teachers, staff and students who bear the brunt of their rage.”
“School administrators at Frederick Douglass High School continue to investigate a physical altercation that took place today when a teacher was struck by a student following a verbal exchange. Ensuring a safe teaching and learning environment for our students and staff is paramount to City Schools. Upon reviewing the incident, school administrators will apply disciplinary action in accordance with Baltimore City Public Schools’ Code of Conduct.” Edie House Foster, with Baltimore City Public Schools said in a statement.
Baltimore City Public Schools released a new statement Thursday night saying their focus is on ensuring a “safe teaching and learning environment for students and staff,”
“Baltimore City Public Schools leaders are working closely with the Frederick Douglass High School leadership team to support students and staff following Wednesday’s altercation between a teacher and student. Our focus is on ensuring a safe teaching and learning environment for students and staff. We understand that an incident like this on can be difficult to process. School counselors and social workers will be available at the school for students and staff to address any questions and concerns they may have. District leaders have also reached out to the teacher to provide any additional support that may be needed,”
The union representing Baltimore City teachers is calling for the student who hit a teacher at Frederick Douglass High School to be immediately removed from the classroom.
“I’m very, very disturbed,” said union president Marietta English. “Not only is a traumatizing to the teacher, but also it’s traumatizing to the students who witnessed it.“
English said the student has “anger issues.”
“It’s a reflection of society that the children don’t have the respect for adults that they’ve had in years past,“ she said.
But English said teachers just keep doing their jobs.
“There’s fear in all of us, but because [teachers] are resilient, they go back to the school. They work hard.” English said.
School representatives declined to speak on camera to WJZ.
It’s unclear what if any punishment the student will face and whether any charges will be filed.
A school spokeswoman said in a statement that administrators would discipline the student according to the code of conduct following an investigation.
There have been several other attacks on Baltimore teachers over the past decade, including the videotaped beating of Jolita Berry, an art teacher at Reginald Lewis High School.
That case made national headlines. Berry told WJZ at the time that it was as if it was “open season” on teachers.
The student in her case was later cleared of assault charges.
The head of the school police union, Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, says the number of officers in Baltimore City schools has dropped 26 percent in the past two years, from 142 in 2016 to 105 today.
“One would question whether school police have enough resources,“ Sgt. Boatwright said.
“I don’t think anybody should come to work to be subject to assault. We just want the school system to take safety as its top priority.”
He said officers have recovered four guns from City schools since the start of the new school year. School police are not armed.
He also notes several fellow officers have been assaulted, including one who had bleach thrown in his eyes last year while trying to break up a fight.