Thursday, March 03, 2005
Phonecam documents teacher verbal abuse, phonecam owner punished instead
Here's an interesting spin on a recent event in New Jersey reported on Smartmobs. A student uses his phone video cam to document a teacher's verbally abusive treatment of students during morning sesion activities (singing the national anthem etc.), posts it online and is subsequently suspended for 10 days while the teacher appears to have not been formally penalized, according to newspaper reports (although having the video posted online sure is gonna not make his day!). The students are clearly adept at pushing this teacher's buttons, but even so, it's difficult to see why a student was punished for documenting what students reported as being fairly typical--and grossly unacceptable--morning treatment.
Interestingly enough, most of the current online discussion concerning this incident focusses on the teacher forcing a student to stand during the national anthem (standing isn't a compulsory law-governed act; just the opposite, in fact. the right to not stand is constitutionally legal) which is indeed a disturbing thing for a teacher to do, but even more insidious to me has been the school's reaction--which effectively has been to close down student critique of abusive teacher treatment in class. Nice lesson for these kids to learn. Not.
Here's an interesting set of posts on the event at NYC Indymedia.