Teacher Beats Student Video: Why Do We Want to Watch?

teacher beats student
Photo from YouTube
I caught this video yesterday in which (allegedly) teacher Sheri Lynn Davis beat her student in front of her class, and quite honestly, I didn't want to write about it. Because I wished I hadn't clicked on it, and I'm not sure I want anyone else to either.

But alas, it's a free country -- more free than ever with the Internet and camera phones -- and part of my job is to bring you the stories that moms are talking about. So here's the link to the video beating if you want to watch.

But let's talk about why we want to watch, okay?


The story behind the beating video is that Ms. Davis,  "a science teacher at Jamie's House Charter School, allegedly backed 13-year-old Isaiah Johnson into a corner and began beating him while his classmates watched." Some reports say Isaiah was teasing another student, and his teacher lost it and came after him.

Ms. Davis beat, kicked, dragged, and slapped the boy while, to add to the horror, his classmates watched, laughed, and cheered. There are even allegations that other teachers were present and did nothing to stop the beating.

(*sigh* I keep hoping this is going to come out as some sort of sick Internet joke ...)

As moms, when we see any news story in which a child is harmed, our hearts go out first to the child and then right after to his or her mother and father. When I watched this video, I thought about that kid and the humiliation he must have felt having to experience this beating -- the physical but also the emotional wounds that were afflicted in this moment. And I wish I could take that pain away.

But alas, that very pain is being replayed over and over on the Internet, and in writing this, I'm guilty too of keeping this pain on instant replay.

News reports say Ms. Davis has already been fired. So why do we keep wanting to watch? What's wrong with us? Do we need to see it to believe it happened? To make our own judgment about how bad it really was, if the teacher was to blame, or if (maybe) the student was somehow to blame? Or do we watch in order to desperately seek out all the ways we can separate ourselves from the crime: That child's not like my child, that school's not like our school, that teacher's not like our teacher, not like, not like, not like us ... ?

What do you think? Did you watch or not? Why or why not? Let's talk.

Read More >