A female high school teacher in Baltimore, Maryland, was punched in the face by one of her students on Wednesday. The disturbing encounter was captured on video by another student and sent to a local news station.
In the video obtained by WBAL-TV 11 News, the Frederick Douglass High School chemistry teacher and the student exchange words before the assault.
Standing behind the teacher, the female student lands a punch on the left side of the teacher’s face and says, “Don’t (expletive) get smart with me.”
“I didn’t get smart with you,” the teacher responded, before following the student out into the hall.
The veteran teacher has not been named by the school but reportedly did not show up to work on Thursday, the day following the assault. The chemistry teacher is reportedly a respected elder at her church.
The school district said they are investigating the incident. In an issued statement, the district said their “focus is on ensuring a safe teaching and learning environment for students and staff.”
“Baltimore City Public Schools leaders are working closely with the Frederick Douglass High School leadership team to support students and staff following Wednesday’s altercation between a teacher and student. Our focus is on ensuring a safe teaching and learning environment for students and staff. We understand that an incident like this one can be difficult to process,” the statement reads.
The district also offered support for students and teachers.
“School counselors and social workers will be available at the school for students and staff to address any questions and concerns they may have. District leaders have also reached out to the teacher to provide any additional support that may be needed,” the statement continued.
President of the Baltimore Teachers Union, Marietta English, issued remarks seemingly condemning the district for ignoring past requests for teacher support.
“Of course, I was very angry when I saw that because we’ve asked that there be some kind of support for our teachers, and something needs to happen,” said English.
English released the following statement concerning the incident:
The footage of a student punching one of our members in the face is absolutely deplorable. Our teachers and paraprofessionals work too hard and sacrifice too much of their time, creativity and genuine love for teaching to be treated in such a manner by anyone, including their students.
As I stated in my testimony before the new school security policy was passed by the School Board last spring, the District must develop and implement policies that not only provide options for students who express this type of behavior, but also protection and other measures for the teachers, staff and students who bear the brunt of their rage.
The community was also disturbed by the footage.
“I think the children out here are losing lack of consideration and love,” said community member Jamal Talib. “They’re not being taught a conscious of how to treat others how they want to be treated.”
“If there’s a situation going on at home and they go out into the public, they’re going to carry that same attitude, and the same situation is going to happen on the outside,” stated another resident, Marvin McDowell.
“The teacher was not seriously injured,” according to 11 News. It’s unclear when she’ll return to the classroom.
Unfortunately, incidents where students assault teachers are not entirely uncommon.