Teacher hits student with belt

Do education classes equip aspiring teachers for classroom combat? How candid are colleges of education about the referee role teachers may be required to play, especially those working in middle and high schools?

Is there any solid guidance on when a teacher should get in the middle of warring students? Is it only when a child appears in mortal danger?

Or, is it never due to the risks?

The most immediate risk is being hurt by the tussling students. But there is also a real risk to educators of losing their jobs if the school board feels they used excessive force to stop the fight.

Last week, I posted a news story about an Atlanta Public Schools teacher who attempted to defuse a classroom brawl and was injured after a teen attacked him. A video shows a Douglass High School ninth grader repeatedly punching the teacher in the head.

WSB-TV reported:

The student was arrested and charged with assault. The teacher ended up at the hospital, suffering minor injuries. In a statement, Atlanta Public Schools said, “safety and security of students and staff is a top priority in APS.”

Both students involved in the initial altercation will face discipline in line with the APS code of student conduct. The district said the teacher is recovering after being released from the hospital.

The video made me wonder how much time is spent talking about classroom violence in teacher prep programs.

Stepping into student skirmishes can lead teachers into a social media minefield. A hero teacher trying to separate brawlers can end up looking like the aggressor if bystanders record the incident and post a portion of it. (This was a subplot of the wonderful play “Pipeline.” )

After I shared the Douglass High video on AJC Get Schooled, teachers relayed their own experiences and their own response to student fights.

Only a few teachers said they’d physically insert themselves into a student altercation: “I’m not going to first let a fight start in my presence. Any good observer can see it coming. Secondly, I will try and break it up. If my getting hurt prevents another good student from being killed, it’s worth the risk,” said a teacher.

Most agreed with this poster: “Stop breaking up fights. You are not a police officer or a security guard. You are a teacher. The line must be drawn somewhere.”

Some educators were injured trying to end a clash and learned their lesson. “I don’t break fights up anymore. In 2007 I was punched in the face while trying to intervene,” said one.

A teacher wrote a good essay on this issue a few years ago for CNN. Among her points:

I’ve learned that the most responsible action can be protecting yourself so you can care for others. In keeping myself safe, I’m better able to protect my other students, the innocent bystanders. I have children of my own who need me to be functioning at 100%. I’m pregnant now, and when school starts in a few weeks, I must first and foremost protect my unborn child.

For all of those reasons and more I will remain a conscientious objector during fights that occur in my classroom.

Your thoughts?

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About the Author

Maureen Downey Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.

Teacher investigated after allegedly hitting student with belt

A teacher at a high school in Texas is no longer in the classroom after a video surfaced of him allegedly hitting a student with a belt, school district officials said.

The unidentified teacher at Cypress Woods High School in Cypress was seen taking off his belt and chasing a student around the classroom before hitting him with it in a video taken during class on Friday. Students told KTRK that the student spat on the teacher and then wiped something off his head, prompting the teacher – whose online biography said he previously worked in the English department at the school – to react.

School officials said in a statement that they were “shocked” by the conduct seen in the video.

“The staff member involved was immediately removed from campus and police are conducting a thorough investigation,” according to the statement released by the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. “These actions are certainly not representative of Cypress Woods or CFISD employee standards of conduct.”

The teacher declined comment when reached by a reporter at his home in Harris County, KTRK reports.

Messages seeking additional comment from district officials were not immediately returned Tuesday.

But at least one student at the school claimed the incident was drastically misinterpreted, claiming the teacher and student frequently played around during class.

“The teacher wasn’t hitting the student to actually hurt him or teach him a lesson,” student Taylor Johnson wrote. “If you’ve watched the video, you’ll notice that the video is muted, clearly so you can’t hear that this is all fun and games. The teacher and student had a funny relationship where they would always mess with each other and joke around. The teacher didn’t hurt the student and everyone in the class could testify, I’m sure.”

KTRK did not identify the teacher since he had not been charged with a crime, but grainy footage apparently taken by another student inside the classroom showed a male teacher chasing a student around a classroom after the teen wiped something off the educator’s head.

Sherry Lopez, who has two daughters at the school, said the teacher had other options instead of reacting the way he did, regardless of the circumstances leading up to the incident.

“It would definitely be a problem,” Lopez said a teacher reacted that way toward her daughters. “He could have called his parents. There were other measures he could have took.”

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It’s the viral video you saw first on FOX 5. A Prince George’s County substitute teacher using a belt to break up a fight in his classroom. For the first time, we are getting an account of what happened from the substitute teacher in the incident at Gwynn Park Middle School.

The teacher’s daughter, Annette, told FOX 5 that her father, Sgt. Albert W. Cooks, was trying to break up a fight — a bad one — and the kids were not listening when he was yelling for them to stop.

That is when he took off his belt and hit a desk and the floor to get them to stop. He never hit a student, according to his daughter.

The video of the incident was shot by a student last Friday inside a sixth grade classroom.

Prince George’s County Public Schools have banned Cooks from the classroom and he is being investigated by authorities.

Cooks’ daughter told us her father is a Vietnam veteran. He released a statement to FOX 5 through his daughter saying:

“God is on my side. Pray for me and our kids that they improve in their thirst for education. We have a major problem in our society with kids coming to school for anything but to get an education, which will enhance their future. Talk is cheap, and the parents of today need to instill some old fashion values that our kids can take with them into their future and become contributing citizens.”

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Cooks is getting a lot of support on social media and even from parents.

“My children said that was very personable,” said Cherrail Curry. “He was Vietnam veteran. He got drafted, so he evidently talked to them and shared with them . He was, as one of my sons put it, a very gentle giant.”

“I didn’t see it as he was trying to hurt kids,” said Anthony Pelt. “Maybe just fed up a little bit and his way of trying to say you guys need some discipline. I didn’t see him as trying to abuse the kids or hurt the kids.”

In another statement, Sgt. Cooks responded to the praise saying, “I am nobody’s hero. I just want to make sure all students, especially black students, go as far as they can in school so that they can get scholarships and grants in college because they are available but only for the few who have the grades and are qualified.”

Cooks’ daughter lives in North Carolina. She said her father often used his belt to discipline her when she was a kid. He didn’t hit her with it, but a snap of the belt was all it took.

She said her father wasn’t actually hitting the children in classroom, but it was just his way of getting their attention and stop a fight.

His daughter also told us Cooks was a vice principal for more than 20 years at nearly a half dozen schools, including Gwynn Park Middle School.

According to Maryland law, corporal punishment is illegal, but a teacher can take reasonable action, including a degree of force to stop a fight.

CHICAGO — A lawsuit was filed Thursday against a teacher and the Chicago Board of Education by the family of a fourth grader who said he was beaten in school.

Jomuary Champ, 9, attends Tilton Elementary in West Garfield Park. His family said he had welts from being beaten 20 to 30 times with two belts, after being slapped and dragged into a school bathroom last September.

The lawsuit said the teacher brought in a friend from outside of the school to help her carry out the beating.

A police source confirmed that his teacher, Kristen Haynes, was charged with battery and child endangerment. Her friend, Juanita Tyler, 56, was charged with battery.

“She commanded him, ‘Pull down your pants.’ When he refused, she lost her temper, and began striking him hard with two large leather belts which she held with the buckles in her right hand,” attorney Al Hofeld Jr. said.

The lawsuit alleged that it was a well-known practice by the fourth grade teacher to use the belts to discipline students.

“The belts are brown and black. She called them Mr. Brown and Mr. Black,” Asia Gaines, Jomaury’s mother, said.

On one particular day, it wasn’t clear to the 9-year-old what he had done wrong, but he had been in trouble days earlier.

“She was upset with him because he was laughing in class and folded his arms when she spoke to him,” Hofeld said.

Tyler is a distant relative of Jomuary, but he said he did not know her.

Jomuary’s family said he was partially hospitalized for two months after the beating, and that he now takes medication for anxiety. They said he had no significant history of discipline problems, and has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

She said an image of one of his injuries doesn’t show a full picture of what her son has been dealing with. Anxiety medication and panic attacks are now the norm.

“He can’t eat, he can’t sleep. He’s bed wetting every night and he’s scared to see the boogie man,” Gaines said.

Chicago Public Schools has released the following statement regarding the incident:

“Every student deserves a safe learning environment and the district will not tolerate actions that place students in the way of harm. After learning of deeply concerning allegations, the district removed the employee from her position and launched a full investigation. While the investigation remains ongoing, the district is working directly with the school to ensure support is available for the student and family.”

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THIS is the shocking moment a teacher launched a brutal attack on a 15-year-old special needs pupil and stomped on her head.

The distressing footage shows the pupil appear to hit the female high school teacher before the teacher held the girl down in her seat.

4 Tiffani Lankford is seen hitting the special needs pupil

The teacher, identified as Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32, then hits the girl at least three times before shoving her onto the floor.

With the girl sprawled out on the floor the teacher then stomps on her head before yelling at her and walking away.

Other pupils in the Spanish language class at Lehman High School, in Kyle, Texas, can be seen looking on in horror.

Lankford was identified by the authorities after the incident on Friday and immediately fired from her role as a substitute teacher and arrested for aggravated assault.

It has been reported Lankford had a previous offence for a domestic violence incident in 2014.

The teen girl’s family issued a statement through their lawyer Paul Batrice.

It said: “We are shocked and disgusted after seeing the abuse and excessive force used in this teacher’s attempt to discipline a special needs child.

‘SHOCKED AND DISGUSTED’

“There is no excuse for this type of behaviour. Given this teacher’s alleged criminal history of domestic violence and the video footage that has shaken our community, we have started an investigation into this teacher and Hays CISD in the hopes of ensuring justice for this family and so that no Texas student ever endures such extreme behaviour again.”

Officials from the Hays Consolidated Independent School District said in a statement on Friday: “As a Hays CISD family, when one of our schools and students is hurting, we all hurt.

“You may have already seen stories on the news tonight, or the video on social media, about a horrible incident that occurred late this afternoon at Lehman High School.

“It was a traumatic event for the student, her classmates, and the teachers and staff at Lehman High School. Let us all keep the Lobos in our hearts this weekend. I know we all wish our student and her family well as she recovers from this assault.”

The school’s head wrote in a letter which was posted on Facebook: “We take the safety and security of our students seriously.

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“We took swift action when this incident occurred and will do everything necessary to protect our students.”

Governor Greg Abott said in a Twitter message: “Conduct like this won’t be tolerated in Texas classrooms. The substitute teacher who committed this heinous act has been arrested & will face serious legal consequences.

“The school district will be investigated by the Texas Education Agency.”

4 Lankford then throws the girl to the ground 4 Lankford then stamps on the girl’s head 4 Tiffani Shadell Lankford was fired immediately from her role as a substitute teacherCredit: Hays County Jail

Five kids will be removed from custody of mother seen in viral video hitting son with belt at school

BEAUMONT, Texas — The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services confirms that four children have been removed from the home of the mother seen in a viral video hitting one of her sons with a belt at school.

A fifth child, who is a year-old, and currently staying in Houston will also be taken into the custody of Family and Protective Services according to a spokesperson for the agency.

DFPS and BISD police have been investigating the incident at Homer Drive Elementary School.

The video posted on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter has since been removed from all three sites but not before more than a million people watched it.

12News viewed the video before it was removed. We have chosen not to post the video to protect the child.

The video shows a mom on the school’s campus clearly looking for her son. She locates him in the cafeteria and is seen pulling him by the collar to a courtyard outside.

The video shows her hitting the boy with a belt several times. Through tears, the boy is forced to apologize to a woman who appears to be his teacher as he is hit with the belt.

The woman is seen cursing at the boy and using the n-word multiple times.

The woman and her friend are both seen in the video wearing school visitor badges. It’s unclear who is recording the incident.

Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham tells 12News that there were no marks on the child. He says the language heard in the video was “unacceptable” and that his office is looking into exactly what they can do.

“As the district was made aware of the situation, administrators contacted the appropriate enforcement agencies and the matter is under investigation,” BISD spokesperson Hannah Letulle told 12News in an email.

Homer Drive Elementary principal Dr. Belinda Richardson-George posted on Facebook Wednesday night saying, “We do not condone this type of behavior from our parents, teachers, and/or scholars. This matter is under investigation.”

The state will hold a hearing in 14 days to decide whether the mom should re-gain custody. If they are removed, a status hearing will be held to allow the children’s parents a chance to make their case in court.

12News asked a Beaumont ISD spokesperson a series of questions. These questions are listed, with BISD’s responses.

Are you able to say when the video was taken?

  • No.The video was not taken by BISD.

What is the visitor policy for parents?

  • See the parent code of conduct.

Is it normal for parent visitor’s to have access to a child upon entering the school? Must parents be accompanied by someone?

  • It is common practice for parents to have access to their child if they request after checking in to the school at the front office. See visitor’s policy.

Are there security guards present on campus?

  • One public safety officer is assigned at Homer Drive Elementary.

What is the district’s policy for intervening when it comes to a situation that escalates on campus? Can staff or teachers intervene?

  • Beaumont ISD follows the Texas Educator’s Code of Ethics.

Post by 12NewsNow.

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A high school teacher in Texas has been fired after a video of him hitting a student with a belt went viral on the internet.

The video was posted on Facebook and showed a student wiping something off the teacher’s head. The teacher responded by taking off his belt and chasing the student all over the classroom and whipping him.

— ‘You see how it was to be a slave?’ White teacher causes outrage for stepping on black children in cruel slavery lesson —

The violent incident happened on Friday during first period at Cypress Woods High School.

Witnesses said that the teacher started hitting a student when the teen spat on the teacher. The teacher has not been identified and has not yet been charged with a crime.

Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District put out a statement that read, “We were shocked to learn of the video. The staff member involved was immediately removed from campus and CFISD police are conducting a thorough investigation. These actions are certainly not representative of Cypress Woods or CFISD employee standards of conduct.”

— High school students stage walk-out to protest racist, homophobic Snapchat videos —

In response to the man hitting a student, parent Sherry Lopez said, “He could have called his parents. There were other measures he could have taken.”

This is not the first time a teacher has been fired for hitting a student with a belt.

In 2015, a Maryland substitute teacher had to be removed from the classroom after a video of him hitting sixth-grade students with a belt while trying to break up a fight.

That video went viral as well causing outrage among the parents as well as the community.

That incident at Gwynn Park Middle School was described as “improper” by school officials. The statement they put out read, “Prince George’s County Public Schools does not condone this type of behavior and it is not representative of the level of professionalism and respectful conduct of the team at the school.”

— White tennis player suspended for telling Black player: ‘At least I know my dad’ —