In a recent incident, a Jefferson Davis High School teacher slammed a door which resulted in injuring a student. Teachers must use caution when interacting with students to ensure that no physical or metal injury results from those interactions. Because this student teacher interaction resulted in injury to the student, the teacher must be dismissed from the school.

According to the ninth grader, it started when another student was copying off of her paper in class. Her teacher saw was happening and balled up both of their assignments. When Nesbitt asked why her assignment was being taken away from her when she wasn’t cheating, she says he kicked her out of the classroom. Upset, she left but then realized her belongings were still in the classroom. “She left out of his class when she went to go back in, he pushed her back out the door. She kept trying to explain to him that she was trying to get her stuff. I guess he didn’t want to hear that. He was already mad. Every time she tried to go in, he pushed her out and then he finally slammed the door,” her mother told WSFA 12 News. Nancy’s hand was caught in the door as it closed. In a photo of the 15-year-old’s hand taken right after the incident, her fingers are split, bleeding and swollen.

One question that has to be answered is why the Jefferson Davis High School administrators did not have the teacher arrested for assaulting the student?

In common law, assault is the act of creating apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact with a person. An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law. There is, however, an additional criminal law category of assault consisting of an attempted but unsuccessful battery. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more limited sense of a threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force.

The teenager stated that the teacher pushed her and then slammed the door on her hand. The push is an indication of a threat. The teacher carried out that threat by slamming the door on her hand.

If the situation was reversed and the student pushed the teacher, then she would have been arrested. She would have been expelled from school and would have more than likely became part of the criminal system.

This is a poor example that has been set by the Jefferson High School administration. When teachers are not held accountable for actions that hurt children, the children will feel disempowered and take matters in their own hands. Many students probably feel insecure with the teachers and administration. Some students will desire to bring weapons to school to protect themselves from teachers. Many students have already plotted their course of action in case any teacher threatens them or screams at them. When a teacher decides to enforce discipline, the children are going to react at an extreme because they do not want to end up with damaged or broken hands to say the least.

The parents are going to continue to grow distrustful towards the teachers and administrators. There is going to be an increase in parental complaints when it comes to discipline and classroom achievement. The parents will create a system of communication so that if any teachers become a threat to their children they will be at the school immediately.

In order to overcome this challenge, Jefferson High School administrators and teachers must respond as follows:

  • Public Marketing Strategy

The school district has made an error in not publicly apologizing for the incident. They need to ensure that the emphasis of their school is focused on the health and well being of the children they serve. The longer that they wait, the more resistance they will have from students, parents, and the community.

  • Teachers develop multiple test versions

The incident between the teacher and the student resulted from alleged student copying on tests. If teachers make several versions of the test, cheating will cease.

  • Promote positive teacher student classroom relationships

The students will no longer respect the teachers. They will feel disempowered. While they may not be able to protest, they can protest by not putting their best foot forward on standardized test. This will make the Jefferson Davis High School look like a dysfunctional education system.

  • Fire the teacher!!! Fire the teacher!!!

No teacher has a right whether accidental or not to damage children physically or mentally. No parent should have to worry about the health and well being of their child while they are under the jurisdiction of a teacher.

Jefferson Davis High School will have to implement the above mentioned strategies to ensure that it does not become a dysfunctional education system.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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