Photo credits: Facebook
A white high school math teacher in the former Confederate state of South Carolina has been forced into early retirement after a video of her physically violating a black male student went viral.
Lisa Houston, a former teacher at Palmetto High School in Anderson County, South Carolina was recently being recorded in the classroom while she was attempting to wake up a student who had fallen asleep in her class. However, her way of going about doing so was not conventional.
Houston, a 27-year veteran math teacher at Palmetto High School is seen in the video (which is void of audio) slapping the black male student in his face, standing on his desk, nudging him with her feet, and pulling on his dreadlocks. However, the embattled educator insist that her actions where merely a jest.
“If you ask any kid I’ve taught, they’ll tell you I kid around with them, make them stay awake and laugh with them,” Houston told WYFF Channel 4, a local NBC media affiliate.
“I know the video looks bad. If you don’t know the situation, you don’t know what’s going on, but it was not a malicious act. It was all in fun. I want the public to know that I love the student, and that our rapport with each other was great. I would have never done anything to hurt him,” she continued.
The local media outlet requested a statement reportedly made by the black male student but the Anderson County public school district would not hand the statement over citing privacy reasons. Anderson School District One Assistant Superintendent Jane Harrison said the following:
“In response to your request for comment regarding a video, the district wishes our community to know that the school administration immediately conducted an inquiry into what occurred, and we can share the following: the individual has already separated as an Anderson One teacher. Although the district is unable to comment in detail about the matter, the administration took seriously what occurred, and the teacher, who has had an exemplary record of teaching performance, decided of her own accord that she would retire in the best interest of her school.”
Teachers may develop close and playful bonds with their students but in the age of smartphone videos and social media, educators have to be careful in how they interact with other people’s children. Even if the child is comfortable with an interaction which can be perceived as racist, severe consequences can still be leveled.
Houston has learned the hard way that when it comes to racism in today’s public schools, perception is often reality.
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