Disturbing footage of a fight between a ninth grade Georgia student and her teacher has been shared on social media, prompting school officials to launch an investigation that will end up with the young girl facing criminal charges.
The altercation that happened at the Heritage High School in the Atlanta suburb of Rockdale County on Thursday, Jan. 26, also sparked a conversation between community stakeholders about the level of discipline the student should receive and the teacher’s responsibility to de-escalate problems in her classroom.
In the video, a female student is confronting the teacher face to face. The teen is yelling and cursing as the teacher attempts to use her cellphone to call for some assistance with the conflict. The student knocks the mobile device out of her hand.
After the phone falls to the floor, the teacher pushes the student, before saying, “get out my face, girl.” The student pushes the teacher, yelling, “You’re not going to talk to me like that! You’re not going to talk to me like that!”
As the student continues to yell, the educator exits the classroom. The teen shuts the door behind her. When the teacher tries to re-open the door, the freshman pushes her. The teacher tries to restrain the student. “Do not put your hands on me!” she barks.
The student responds, “I’m fixing to start swinging!”
The two were both in the doorway with their hands locked and each pushing the other before the fracas turns into a full-on brawl, with both of them yanking each other’s hair. Once the student breaks free from her teacher’s larger grip, she bests her, knocking her to the hallway floor.
The video gets blurry, but the student can be seen getting pulled away, saying, “I don’t give a f##k if you are an adult or not.”
In an interview with the young girl’s classmates, WSB-TV reports, after the incident the student was taken to a juvenile detention center.
Rockdale County School District officials say the student has been suspended from school and will be facing criminal charges, stating that violence against any of their employees is never acceptable.
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Still, one parent says, teachers have to learn to talk to children with respect and learn how to de-escalate conflicts on campus.
The mom said, “What I think the problem is, is the teachers are not taking a class on how to deal with children. You have to learn de-escalation techniques to help those kids versus aggravating a situation.”
Her son, who was an eyewitness to the fight, said he was shocked at his classmate and teacher’s physical scuffle, one that left the teacher with a broken leg. The teen, who was not identified, said, “She’s a pretty good teacher, but how she talks, she talks with aggression. How she talks to kids is not a proper way to talk to them.”
Another parent, who was shown the video by a reporter, gasped, “Oh my God, punching her. OK, is that girl in jail?” She then said the children should have stopped their classmate from disrespecting the teacher.
“All these other kids, they should’ve gotten up and done something. I mean why do you let them treat a teacher that way?” the blond woman remarked.
Social media has chimed in with an overwhelming amount of people saying the child was out of line.
One Twitter user blamed the parents, writing, “Where are her Parents? They seem to flunk in decency. That girl has been taught to hate, she thinks she has no boundaries. Thanks Donald.”
Another person said the teacher was actually a nice person.
“I went to this school. It’s Rockdale County High School in Conyers Ga. Ms. Turner who is a known sweet teacher. Mainly teaches 9th,” the person posted.
Someone challenged her asking, “Does she really be talking reckless to the students? A student in the news article said she does.”
The former student responded saying, “Off beat no. But she isn’t going to take disrespect. But she might be different in different classrooms. Some teacher just like to target students sometimes. And seeing as she was subbing that day. Could have been the case.”
According to the Rockdale Newton Citizen, the school district released a statement regarding the fight and their position on violence on campus.
“Rockdale County Public Schools is investigating an incident where a student allegedly attacked a teacher during class today,” the statement says. “RCPS does not tolerate student violence towards any staff members. Students who harm other students or staff will be disciplined according to our Student Discipline Code of Conduct and will be appropriately charged by law enforcement.”
“We will adhere to personnel and student privacy laws in this matter,” the statement concluded.
The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office also released a statement saying their office is “actively investigating this incident. Once there is a decision to charge either party, RCSO will take the proper steps.”