A recent article, reveals that a Bartram High School substitute teacher was recorded as a victim of an assault carried out by student who attended the school. The substitute teacher replied that he had an encounter with the student earlier in the day resulting in the substitute teacher reprimanding the student for inappropriate behavior and asking him to leave the classroom.
The final incident between the Bartram High School substitute teacher was captured on video by another student. The video captured the student lifting the teacher and then dropping the substitute to the ground resulting in the substitute being rendered unconscious.
The substitute teacher stated through the years, I have been “abused and bullied” but Thursday was the first time that I have been assaulted. Another staff member states that past assaults have placed teachers on the edge. On October 21, a student attempted to steal a teachers laptop computer by first pushing the teacher to the ground. In another incident, a student punched a teacher in the face.
The Philadelphia School District has responded to the incident by having the student suspended and eventually the student will participate in expulsion proceedings. The school district has responded to the other teacher student fights by adding three police officers. However, teachers at the Bartram High School believe that even though there are additional strategies in place to increase safety for teachers they seem to be reducing in effectiveness.
The American Psychological Association reports that each year 7 percent of teachers are threatened with injury. Fifty-five percent of those threats happen in secondary schools. The victimization of teachers result in:
- Lost wages
- Lost days of work (927,000 per year)
- Need for training and replacement of teachers leaving the school or profession prematurely
- Lost instructional time
- Medical and psychological care resulting from threats and assaults
- Student disciplinary proceedings involving school, police, judicial systems, social services and parents
- Increased workers’ compensation claims and premiums
- Incarceration of perpetrators
Some student perceptions regarding teachers are rooted in the racism. Some students believe that teachers do not value their culture. Some teachers have students to believe that they are racist because of the negative responses from teachers regarding their behaviors and values. Then there are many Black students who believe that teachers can not help them out of their impoverished status and therefore believe that all White teachers are racist. It has been found that students believe that teachers are racist. This belief eventfully transfers to all teachers no matter what the ethnicity of the teacher.
The teachers at Bartram High School will have to reverse the perceptions that many students have regarding their teachers. You can begin this process with a lesson plan regarding assaulting teachers. Begin the lesson by stating that we have had an incident regarding the assault of a teacher. This student is probably going to spend some time in jail as well as being expelled from school. My job today is to protect you from the same consequences that this student is going to receive.
Since Black student are most proficient at oral presentations make the final project some type of oral presentation such as a PowerPoint presentation.
Use a rubric to evaluate the project. Incorporate both technology, language arts, and math curriculum standards. Have students respond to the following questions for their presentation:
- What is the legal definition for an assault?
- What are some of the reasons that people commit this crime?
- What are some of the statistics regarding this crime?
- What are the consequences for this crime?
- What strategies do recommend that students use to ensure that they do not become involved in the crime?
- What recommendations do you have for teachers?
Teachers, remember not to interject your opinion during this assignment. Finalize the lesson that “I thought that this lesson was important because I am here to protect my students by educating them to ensure that they have the best possible chance at making it in their lifetime. The activity will begin to remove the perceived image as a villain to a hero at the Bartram High School.
Another teacher assaulted at Bartram
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D. www.positiveracialrelationships.com PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
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