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Teacher fired for using broom to stop student fight wants her job back

Two students started fighting violently in a Detroit high school classroom, knocking over desks, and a teacher grabbed a broom to try to break it up. She struck one of the fighting boys and was fired for her action. Now she wants her job back — and she’s getting a lot of unexpected support.

According to Detroit’s WJBK-TV, the teacher had a walkie talkie in the Pershing High School classroom with which she was supposed to call for help in emergencies, but it wasn’t working. Apparently, however, the fight didn’t stop until another student stepped in.

Someone in the class took a video of the fight and the teacher’s intervention on a cell phone, and it was made public. That’s when the teacher, identified as Tiffany Eaton, was removed from the class and quickly fired. The students who were fighting were suspended for 10 days.

WJBK quoted Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, explaining the teacher’s dilemma.

“Unfortunately, the method that she used, in terms of swatting one with a broom, is a violation of the corporal punishment provision under the Michigan school code. But she’s caught in a quandary because under that same code she’s expected to do what is necessary to diffuse a situation.”

Local 4 News quoted the teacher’s father, Kerry Davis, as saying his daughter intervened to protect the other students, and that she is going to hire a lawyer to get her job back.

Some members of the community have rallied behind her. A petition on the website gofundme has raised about $1,500 for the teacher, and another petition was started on asking that the teacher be given her job back.



Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · May 7, 2014

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