I have often used this blog (here) to complain about how teachers and administrators have used criminal charges to regulate routine instances of childish behavior. Now, we have the inverse situation of a teacher who has been confronted by police over the rattling of a desk due to an irate parent. The eighth-grade math teacher at Atherton’s Selby Lane School simply rattled a table to get his students’ attention — resulting in police being called to the classroom.
Initially, police were told that the teacher had rattled a table and thrown objects. They quickly confirmed that no objects had been thrown. Indeed, only one student was upset and had gone home and called the police from a cellphone. Most of the other students said that they were not upset by the rattling and that the teacher was only being dramatic. Yet, the school still put the teacher on administrative leave.
Redwood City School District Deputy Superintendent John Baker said the teacher will remain on leave pending an investigation. Frankly, I fail to understand. Not every allegation presumably leads to a suspension for a teacher. Administrators must use discretion (a problem in all of these stories). Here the police only found that a table had been rattled and the other students confirmed that they were not upset. That should be enough to keep a teacher in place while any further investigation proceeds.
Even if the teacher was overbearing, why is this a criminal issue? I view the decision of the student to leave school and call police to be a rather extreme response — and the suspension validates that response. I have often complained that we are teaching our students to live within a criminalized society where every infraction is filtered through the criminal code. This student appears to have learned that lesson all too well.
Source: Mercury News found on Reddit.