Teacher Was Right to Punch Her Student in the Face

Janelle Harris

Punch in facePeople can get real self-righteous when it comes to their kids. I don’t know what happens. They can be super self-aware about every other part of their lives, but let somebody talk about their children and they dive deep into denial, defensiveness, and outrage.

And then they send their little ones out into the world wrapped in that armor of “my mama thinks I can do no wrong,” ready to bark down any neighbor, cafeteria lady, or crossing guard who dare suggest their little angels aren’t exactly angels after all.

Maybe that’s what’s wrong with this Florida teenager, who cornered his teacher in her classroom. She punched him in what she claims was self-defense, but dude needed to get his face knocked. Maybe Harold Camping is right. Maybe the end of the world is near, because this mess means things are falling apart. Who is raising their kids to think they can physically confront their teachers?

And y’all wonder why I support spanking. I’m blown. This boy is a prime candidate to have his behind whooped, first by the teacher, then by his parents. But I suspect that’s a pipe dream since any kid who knew a swift and severe punishment was on the line probably wouldn’t have acted like this in the first place. So I digress.

In order to refute accusations of misbehavior, you have to know your child —  well. What they’re capable of, even when they’re in showoff mode in front of their peers and classmates. Once in a while, you may be surprised at their temporary stupidity but not get a complete and total shock because you’ve observed your kid’s personality under all kinds of circumstances.

If I walked into Skylar’s school and one of the staff members rolled up on me and told me that she had been disruptive and cutting up in class, that vein in my forehead would pop out and I’d be ready to give the junior Ms. Harris a verbal smackdown because that sounds possible. I know she’s a talker, I know she’s a giggler, and I know she’s always in the center of the social goings-on, wherever she is.

On the flip side, if someone walked up to me and accused her of starting a fight, cussing someone out, or disrespecting a teacher, I’d be real skeptical and probably wouldn’t believe it. Unless there was video recorded proof. All I know is I better never, ever see footage of Skylar involved in anything like this or it’s 50 paces to the nearest highfalutin’ military school for her.

If my theory holds true — and I’m confident that it does — this boy’s parents had to know that he was a hotheaded jerk prone to being a complete and total nightmare, and perhaps having the potential to fly off the handle, harass a teacher, and threaten her all up in her personal space. This couldn’t possibly be his first instance of bullying. Except now, instead of another kid, he was playing Tough Tony against his own educator. How charming.

It’s a sad, sad state of affairs when a teacher has to fear for her safety not because she’s intervening in a fight between two of her students, but because one of her students is trying to start a fight with her. But what’s even more disturbing is this teacher is a 64-year-old woman. She’s probably old enough to be his grandmother. And this little jerk is stepping to her like she’s a guy he’s about to rumble with in a gym locker room.

I was about to say, “If I were his parents.” I couldn’t even finish that sentence. Because this couldn’t be my son. What is the proper reaction when you get the call to come to the principal’s office because your boy has called his teacher a "cunt" and backed her up against a wall? I’ve never had a drink in my life, but that? That would be the day I’d have to throw my first one back.

Though the teacher dodged charges for child abuse and avoided any kind of prosecution, she was disciplined for the first time in her 23-year career. Twenty-three years as a teacher without major incident means either this woman flew under the radar as an abuser for a really long time or this situation escalated into an unprecedented mishap for her. The media is reporting what happened to her, but I’d like to know what happened to him.

Was what this teacher did right? Is it ever OK for a teacher to put their hands on a student?

Image via .A.A./Flickr

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