Professor Frank J. Rybicki teaches Mass Media at Valdosta State University. The other day, he was arrested for assaulting a student in his class and is now facing battery charges.
Did he punch the student? No.
Did he throw his chair across the room at the student? Definitely not.
Did he inappropriately get a bit too intimate with a student? Not even close.
He was arrested for shutting a student's laptop in class. The student, the professor claims, was web-browsing on sites not related to the course, instead of taking notes. After he closed her laptop, an argument ensued between the professor and the 22-year-old girl. Then, soon after the argument, the professor dismissed class early because he was so upset.
That was Friday. The following Monday, when the students came to class, instead of being greeted by their professor, they were greeted by officers.
Inside Higher Ed has the story:
Frank J. Rybicki, assistant professor of mass media at Valdosta State University, did the equivalent last week when he shut the laptop of a student who was allegedly web surfing as opposed to taking notes. She filed a complaint (reportedly about a finger or fingers that were hurt when he shut the laptop) and the university's police arrested him on a charge of battery. The Georgia institution suspended his teaching duties there, although not his pay.
The professor--and the students in the class--were asked by the University to not answer any questions relating to the incident. Still, Professor Rybicki did have a few words to say about this fiasco:
While he declined to discuss the incident specifically, Rybicki did answer a few questions. Asked if students shouldn't look at non-class websites while in class, he said that was "pretty obvious." Asked if he had ever caused physical harm to any student, he said "absolutely not, never."
Many students have come to the defense of the professor. One said that his arrest was not justified "because he is a great teacher and she [the student with the laptop] was on Facebook, when we know not to be on other sites while the teacher is teaching."