By Nigel Boys
Although videos which appear online of fights in schools are usually between students, one which appeared recently was between a student and a teacher and it appears the latter was the one to start the altercation.
The Daily Mail reports that Ms. Burns, a science teacher at Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School, Detroit, became infuriated when students started throwing paper at her during one of her classes. She also accused one student of calling her a “b*****,” but apparently chose the wrong student to reprimand for the outrage.
WJBK-TV reports that Burns decided to challenge who she thought had called her the derogatory name and chose Diamonique Singleton as the likely culprit, because she had apparently laughed at the comment.
”That’s when she got in front of me, saying I’m a ‘b,’ and she started calling me ‘b,’”’ Singleton told the news outlet. “And I said, ‘No, I didn’t even say that.’ She was like, ‘OK, b,’ you got me ‘f’d’ up.’”
Admitting that it was she who had laughed as another student called the teacher a “b****,” Singleton went on to say that she tried to walk away from Burns, but the teacher would not allow it. Claiming that the teacher pushed her first, the seventh-grader continued, “I pushed her hand again then she pushed me. I pushed her back and we started fighting.”
The video, which someone recorded on cell phone, reportedly shows the teacher and student standing close to each other, just before it appears that Burns starts the fight by pushing Singleton. As other students in the classroom can be heard screaming, the altercation quickly develops into a fully fledged brawl, with Burns and Singleton ending up on the floor hitting each other.
It’s unclear exactly how long the fight lasted, or if anyone suffered injuries in the altercation other than Burns and Singleton, but the video apparently shows another person trying to break up the fight, unsuccessfully.
“She put her hand on someone else’s child, without permission,” said Singleton’s sister, Shamika, adding that it was Burns who crossed the line that day.
“She lost control of her classroom,the situation, herself, everything – she just lost control,” Shamika continued. “There are better ways to handle everything especially when it comes to a child.”
“It was a little disheartening to see that,” said Ivy Bailey, Detroit’s interim teachers’ union president. “But I do want to talk to that member to find out exactly what’s happening,” she added.
Answering her own question about if the teacher should have remained professional by showing more restraint, Bailey continued, “I can’t say because I wasn’t there and I don’t know the whole situation.”
With the recent lay-offs in Detroit Public Schools (DPS), Bailey said that teachers are under an imaginable amount of stress. “These people are at a breaking point,” she said, adding “And with all this uncertainty about whether they’re going to have a job next year…”
Singleton, who has been suspended from school and faces possible expulsion, admitted that she regrets pushing her science teacher back, “because it got me in a bad situation.”
Ms. Burns remains on the job pending the conclusion of an investigation by the DPS.
Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken after the completion of a thorough investigation by the department, Bailey confirmed. She added that while the incident should not have taken place, teachers are still working in tough conditions and overcrowded classrooms.
The incident is thought to have occurred sometime in the last week, but it has not been confirmed exactly when the altercation took place.
The video is below: