A Texas middle school teacher was reportedly caught on video removing her mask, then getting in the face of a student to seemingly breathe on her. After the video went viral, the school district launched an investigation into the teacher — who has since been removed from the classroom.
On Sept. 17, there was an incident at the Mead Middle School, just outside of Houston. The unnamed 8th-grade teacher got into a confrontation with a female student. The escalating situation was caught on video by other students in the classroom.
The viral video shows the teacher aggressively getting into the personal space of the student, nudging her into the wall. The student responded by saying, "Get out of my face."
The teacher reacted by saying, "Get out of my class." Then with her mask not being worn correctly and not covering her mouth, the teacher seemed to purposely breathe in the girl's face.
The student repeatedly told the teacher, "Get out of my face." The instructor then challenged the student, "Make me."
Then the teacher banged on the student's desk and commanded her, "Sit back down."
The student from the incident is allegedly Jacqueline Garza, who said the altercation started because the teacher was upset that the students were using their phones during class.
"We were using our phones and she asked us not to use our phones," Garza told KPRC-TV. "I was like, 'Okay.' And she was like, 'Okay.' And we went back and forth and she said, 'Don't disrespect me like that.'"
Garza claims the teacher used swear words at her during the confrontation, "She called me the 'B' word."
Garza explained, "That's when she got in my face and she said, 'Don't disrespect me!' She was breathing on my face with her mask off, spitting on my face. It made me feel embarrassed and scared, not just for me, but my whole class."
The student alleges that her teacher slapped her phone out of her hands.
Maria Garza, the "shocked and angered" mother of the student, said, "[The teacher] could have acted differently. You know, a different way."
Once the video spread on social media, the unnamed teacher was placed on administrative leave by the Aldine Independent School District. An investigation into the incident has been launched by the school district.
Aldine ISD issued a statement regarding the incident:
Student safety is a top priority for Aldine ISD. The district is aware of the incident. After being notified of the incident, the teacher was removed from the classroom and an investigation was conducted. The investigation has concluded and the district will take appropriate administrative action. The teacher's conduct is unacceptable and violates the district's standards of conduct. We take our responsibility seriously to ensure a safe learning environment for all students. The district is reviewing all consequences, including termination. The teacher has not returned to the classroom since the incident occurred on Sept. 17.
The Aldine Independent School District has a mask mandate for students and employees.