If you ask the local union, the teacher in the following video did the right thing by standing idly by while one student in his geometry class repeatedly punched another in the head. But that hasn't stopped the outrage.
Last Thursday at Seagoville High School in the Dallas, TX area, Michael Milczanowksi said he was targeted by a classmate who beat him as fellow students and especially his teacher looked on. And it was all caught on video:
"This kid was actually trying to hurt me, and I could see it in his eyes," Milczanowksi, who is seen just standing and taking the beating in the video, told WFAA-TV. Regarding the teacher's non-action, he said, "I expected him to physically intervene to keep that from happening, but I guess I was wrong:"
According to the local teachers union president, the teacher's response was warranted.
"Teachers have intervened in the past," Rena Honea of the Alliance/AFT union told WFAA. "They have been injured. They have not been able to return to work. They have been reprimanded for intervening. So there is a huge question mark as to what's truly appropriate."
According to the Dallas Morning News, the district has spent a lot of money on "assault leave," which is "relief pay mandated by state law for employees seriously injured." How much? The paper says the district spent $1.2 million on assault leave "for 42 employees from January 2004 to November 2007."
“In today’s society which is a violent society, you do not touch the student. That should be left up to the administration,” she added to KDFW-TV. “I believe that that is for the safety of number one the students, but for the individual teacher as well.”
According to the Dallas Indpendent School District, which is still investigating the incident, it doesn't have a policy on teachers intervening in student altercations. In a statement, the district said, "The altercation on the video shot at Seagoville High School is clearly inappropriate. The district has zero tolerance for violence in the classroom and has responded accordingly."
That "response" has included disciplinary action against the attacker, who could also face criminal assault charges. Milczanowksi has since pulled out from the school.
The district told KDFW it would not comment on whether the teacher is facing any action. "It's a personal matter," it told the station.