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Eighth-Grader’s Call to 911 About Teacher’s Outburst Causes Stir

| March 8, 2011
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I know this is a bloggable item because I mentioned it at our morning news meeting and people immediately started arguing about it:

The Palo Alto Daily News reports that the Redwood City School Board will discuss Wednesday last week’s incident at Atherton’s Selby Lane school, in which a frightened eighth-grader called 911 after her math teacher got, apparently, really really angry in class.

From the Daily News:

Atherton police went to the school around 2:30 p.m. last Tuesday in response to reports of an eighth-grade math teacher causing a disturbance and possibly throwing objects. In an 11 1/2-minute phone call from inside a school bathroom, the 13-year-old student told the dispatcher Haynes lost control after students failed to answer certain problems.

The student cried at points during the conversation and said she was scared Haynes would discover she was making the phone call. She said her teacher had sworn at some classmates and was so furious he knocked over a desk.

But when police officers arrived, they found both Haynes and his students were calm. Police determined he didn’t throw anything but that when he lifted a desk and dropped it to get his students’ attention it fell on its side.

Atherton police Lt. Joe Wade has also said police learned Haynes had raised his voice and used profanity. He said the girl who called police had recorded some of the tirade before leaving class and that both police and the school district have a copy of the recording.

Because police determined Haynes didn’t threaten any students or commit a crime, the school district is leading the investigation.

You can listen to audio of the girl’s 911 call, posted by the San Jose Mercury News, here:

The Redwood City School District has posted this statement about the status of the teacher:

…We would like to clarify that the teacher …was not suspended and no disciplinary action toward the teacher has been taken. The district placed the teacher on paid administrative leave in order to investigate allegations made by a student.

Administrative leave is a procedure that is used to protect the rights of both teachers and students; it ensures that facts are determined before any conclusions are reached. Administrative leave allows time for a full assessment of the situation; input is gathered from students, teachers and anyone involved in the situation. After the situation is investigated and the facts are determined, the district decides on an appropriate course of action and determines whether discipline of either teacher or student is warranted.

We firmly support the right of teachers to be treated fairly; we also take our responsibility to protect students extremely seriously.

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Category: Education, Youth

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  • Bernie

    Why wasn’t the student placed on leave pending the results of the investigation? After all, she felt she was in danger….plus she fled the room (without permission) and used a cell phone (which is not allowed in school), then called 911 rather than going to the principal’s office or calling her parents. There is so much wrong with this picture