Teachers have to keep their cool, even in high-stress situations. With so many students carrying video-capable cell phones, you never know when you might be recorded.
Paul Hagen, a high school physics teacher in Rockdale County, Georgia, learned that lesson the hard way last week, having lost his job for threatening a student on camera.
Cell phone video from someone in the classroom shows Hagen chastising a student (who is not seen on camera) for disrupting a lecture.
“I'm dead serious, dude. You screw with me, you’re gonna be in big ass trouble, OK? Don’t smile at me man, OK? That’s how people like you get shot.
“I got a bet. I bet by the time you’re 21 somebody’s gonna put a bullet right in your head. OK? And it might be me the one that does it.”
The student’s mother, April Carr, found out about the incident partially from an assistant principal, and partially from her son.
She did not defend her son's behavior in the classroom, saying he should have been quietly paying attention during the lesson, but was still angry at Hagen.
“But at the end of the day, he is a child and that teacher is an adult," Carr said. “He is supposed to maintain control of that classroom and of himself. … If you are frustrated, pull him out of the class or wait until another class period. Let yourself calm down, then pull him to the side and talk to him. You don’t threaten his life.”
The school district responds
Hagen was initially placed on administrative leave after the video surfaced.
Thursday, Rockdale County Schools released a statement saying Hagen was “no longer an employee of Rockdale County Public Schools at this time.”
Hagen had taught in the district since 2010 and was the chair of the science department at Rockdale Career Academy.