A teacher was attacked.
A student recently attacked a teacher whom just returned from a medical leave due to cancer. The investigation of the incident discovered that the student was upset because the teacher called the student by the name she was registered as on the attendance sheet. In an effort to respect the privacy of the people involved. I will not mention the names of the girl or the teacher involved. The name on the sheet would normally be considered a female name. Currently the student considers herself a male, so she chose to use a male version of her birth name.
The teacher assumed that the listed name was correct; she also didn’t know that the student used a different name. Having recently returned from a medical leave, it is unlikely for her to have known to use the student’s undocumented name change. According to the video I observed; the girl seemed deeply angry with the teacher, which made it even more difficult to watch.
Keep in mind there is no way that I condone violence. Nor do I believe that people should be attacked if they directly or indirectly offend someone. To be honest I didn’t expect the video to look like an unprovoked attack. I expected that the girl may have possibly, mistook a fast movement as if she thought the teacher would attack her. I thought the student retaliated because of a reflex or mistake of a physical interaction. Which was not the case, the student hit the teacher while the teacher’s back was turned. She also punched her with a level of rage that I’m certain was fueled by the student’s dislike for someone else. After the student punched the teacher another student escorted the angry student out of the room .The teacher followed the student in the hallway in order to diffuse the situation.
The teacher recently stated in an interview that she forgives the student and harbors no ill feelings towards the student. Which in my opinion is a wonderful way to make peace, which is especially important. if you have medical problems. Since then, many people are divided by the teacher’s decision to forgive. Some have said that the student doesn’t deserve forgiveness and others have said that for the teacher’s health it is good to forgive.
On the other hand I believe there are factors that people are not discussing. Urban schools are a difficult setting for teachers to work in. It is often difficult because many of the students have systemic, multi- generational dysfunction that if not addressed make it difficult for the child to concentrate in school. One may say that every child a problem in their household. But these problems don’t cause good teachers to leave in droves, and or good teachers to completely avoid working in an urban school setting.
A child who harms a teacher is not a criminal they are simply a child that is having a difficult time. Will this child receive the counseling that she needs and heal or is she on a path to being institutionalized? This incident emphasizes the importance of loving your children, making them feel safe and giving them the opportunity to express themselves in healthy ways.
What can we do to recognize the signs of sadness and make changes to help our children or the children in our lives grow into well-adjusted adults?
If you would like to speak with me Call 908-350-8643 or email me at Contact@journeyfulfilled.com
Crystal Evans, LCSW ,LCADC