Who's To Blame In Cameraphone Recording Of Teacher Outburst?

from the wait-a-second-here... dept

A few months ago some kids in India filmed themselves performing sexual acts with a cameraphone. The video got out and, in response, the government has banned mobile phones from public schools — which seems to be a complete over reaction to two individuals doing something wrong. The two individuals should be punished for their actions. Instead, everyone else gets punished for having devices that could be misused. However, a new story in the US may be even worse. Picturephoning has a story about an angry teacher being caught on video by a cameraphone and then placed on the web. The teacher is seen screaming at students and then yanks the chair out from one student who refuses to stand up for the national anthem (something that the courts have made clear he doesn’t need to stand for). To be honest, the quality of the video is pretty good — so I wonder if it’s really a mobile phone camera, though it certainly could be. However, the real issue is the way the school is handling the situation. First of all, the teacher wasn’t disciplined at all. Instead, the students who filmed the incident were suspended for 10 days. On top of that, the school is considering banning all mobile phones just because of this incident. It’s still not clear what the students did wrong here. They simply filmed a teacher going overboard — which seems like the perfect use of mobile phone cameras. They helped these students document a teacher going too far. That’s the type of use that should be encouraged. Instead, the exact opposite message is being given to students and teachers. Instead of dealing with the real issues, the school is trying to cover it up. As long as the problems aren’t known, then everything must be fine.

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Comments on “Who's To Blame In Cameraphone Recording Of Teacher Outburst?”

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dorpus says:

Out of context

The kids in the video were clearly acting disrespectfully in the first place, so the teacher’s order to “stand up” could be interpreted as a disciplining measure. As my high school principal said, you have the freedom not to salute the flag, but making fun of people who do is violating their rights too.

Do we want every teenager with a bad attitude to be recording their teachers and quoting them out of context? The education system would get buried with lawsuits and false accuastions.

sly squirrel says:

Re: Out of context

when a teacher acts like a psycho in the classroom, it doesn’t matter why they are recorded, as long as my child is not around them, and they are removed from the classroom.

I never heard a teacher act like this clown did, and it does nothing in the teaching of children to loose it like this guy does. He needs to learn that staying in control in the face of such crap as these kids put out and acting intelligently is much better for the others that are there to learn than this angry outburst is.

yelling like this in the privacy of his home, or car to release his anger is the place for the emotion, as everyone would feel frustrated to face disrepect for what he was trying to do.

These kids certainly needed correction, but the teacher should have recieved it too.

Laura says:

Re: Re: Out of context

I agree with you. I think the teacher could have sent the children to the principal or counselor’s office. He didnt have to yell & act like a psycho. He needs anger management classes. The kids do bad things sometimes but as a teacher you should have more self control. I think camera recordings can be used for good or bad, But they shouldnt be banned. As for the school board they should deal with this another way they shouldnt try to ban cell phones from schools.

tsw says:

Re: Re: Re: Out of context

It’s easy to judge when it’s not us who are in the situation. For those of you who are parents, have you never yelled at your kids? What if someone videotaped you and put that on the web and you are judged by that single moment as a parent? What if the footage is edited to show you in the worst possible light? As a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District I am all for putting a video camera in my classroom. I think it will protect me more as a teacher from people who are quick to blame teachers for the quality of education today. The banning of cellphones with cameras is meant to protect the individual rights of all the people at school. it is one thing to know you are being video taped. It is another matter to be video taped without your knowledge. The banning is also meant to protect the students who are being video taped by their peers for the intent of humiliating and bullying them.

Rod says:

No Subject Given

Mike comments are valid. I do believe the teacher was out of line shouting at them, but we didn’t see the prior behavior from the kids that led him to that state of anger, so basically we really can’t judge the situation since we don?t have all the facts.
Second, is clear that the kids have no respect at all for their teacher. The teacher reacted wrong, I agree with but I think both parties are at fault from the facts given to us by the video. That lack of respect, from the teacher to their students and vice versa is the real problem here.

Teacher must respect his/her students and their rights, but as anything in life it goes both ways, the students should respect their teacher as well (there is a but here, explained below). Again, we don?t have the information of what the kids did before the video was being taken to get their teacher into that state of anger.

Now, that being said there is also the “c’mon” comment. These are teenagers behaving like teenagers, starting to challenge any system given to them. Again, the teacher overreacted and I think if he is one that cannot hold his temper or has a short fuse, he has no business teaching teenagers, it is hard in any school. Teenagers will always challenge you since that is what the teen years are all about. You can come from the more strict family, with hard discipline at home but in school become a jerk.. thats a teenager.

As a principal, I would have reprimanded severely my teacher for shouting and reacting without holding his temper. It is very hard not to loose it from time to time, but it is your job as an educator, yells and anger tantrums have never educated anyone. He provoked the situation, he should?ve just taken the unruly kids to the principal?s office and that?s it.

Griffon says:

Hmm one sided

The problem with type of thing is it’s really incomplete evidence. What happened just before and and even an hour before. Was there a progressive and planned manipulation of the teacher to create the situation? Probable not, but still you have to wonder, and taking action on something like this that dose not clearly represent a crime which is immediately actionable would be a little odd. Also consider the privacy issues, what expectation of privacy should all involved have in closed room…seems a pretty grey area here is all I’m saying, I’m not defending anyone’s actions :).
Perhaps the parents will sue over the suspension and then there will be some more precedent set.


John says:

Re: Hmm one sided

The full story mentioned that the kids saran-wrapped another student to his desk the day earlier, when they had a substitute teacher, and they knew that would provoke the teacher. There is also mention in the story of a longer 10 minute video originally posted which showed the kids trying to get a rise from the teacher. While the teacher was over the top, he wasn’t much worse that HS teachers I had – these kids looked to be a huge pain in the butt.

mitch (user link) says:

Re: Hmm one sided

There does not need to be “complete evidence” a teacher is a paid professional who acts as the gaurdian of the children while under his/her care. Children are NOT responsible for thier actions thier gaurdian is. It is the teachers responsibility to control and contain a situation before it leads to this and to make sure thier reactions do not harm a child.
The law has decided that even yelling causes mental harm.
The teacher is wrong becuase he verbally assaulted the tudents and used intimidation tactics.
The student should have been sent to the disiplanarians office and dealt with according to policy and law.

Ding says:

Like the video, we see only a part of the bigger picture. I reserve my judgement on the teacher simply because I do not have the full picture. What the teacher did could either be mild or something overboard – depending on the context.

The Indian state government did the right thing. I believe the government was aware of the offences committed by the students.

Christopher Mercer (user link) says:

Wiretapping anyone?

I think something to consider is local wiretapping laws. Unknown and undisclosed recording of someone is illegal in many places. Since most schools are not considered public – like say the local mall is – privacy laws may apply. So while I disagree with teachers loosing their cool I also disagree with opportunistic teenagers taking advantage of the situation and capturing only enough video to prove their point. Two wrongs don’t make it right.

What is the next step? Will cameras be placed in the classroom to show the reverse angle and other side of the story?

At the end of the day we need to look at the need for certain kinds of technology in the classroom. While camera phones may serve a certain purpose I suspect they are more disruptive than productive. I am all for productive uses of technology in the classroom that enable and increase the involvement of students.

Jonathan Ames (user link) says:

Wiretapping laws

I agree with the previous comment by Christopher, it depends on the country or state, what the laws are regarding recording. In many U.S. states only ONE party needs to actually consent to the recording to make it legal. You can see a list of what states are one party consent states here: http://www.versadial.com/telephone_recording_laws.html
or by going to wikipedia and typing in “telephone recording laws.”

mitch (user link) says:

Re: Wiretapping laws

The federal law is specific. All recordings in public areas are public domain and legal. A publically funded school is public property therefore subject to the federal law regarding taping, filming, picture taking in public places.

Exceptions to the law exist but are limited to: bathrooms, medical facilities, dressing rooms and places designated as secured for national interests.

bc says:

rights of child

Children and teachers are not equal in school systems. Teachers as professionals are bound first and foremost to act in the best interest of the child. A teacher will never reach nor teach a child anything through an angry outburst except that anger is an appropriate response to frustration. This indivdual should receive a severe punishment. But he likely will only get a gentle talking to. He will lawyer up with the help of his union and avoid any misfortune. If we wonder why children act respectfully toward others we need only look the mirror! THe have followed by example. Did he offer an apology? Anger management? A mark on his record? We hold children accountable through these means why are professionals not held to a much higher standard.

mitch (user link) says:


In my mind it’s simple. There is a group of underaged people in a classroom. The responsible adult in charge of the juviniles decided that to verbally assault and use intimidation to teach. On top he physically assaulted the child by removing the chair from under him.

There is never a time that this type of behaviour is acceptable between an adult and a child especially when that adult is “teaching” the children.

The children were wrong as well, but they are children and as such need an adult to teach them the right way of doing things. Personally i think that the teacher should be disiplined and the students should be told that the teacher acted inappropriatly.

Another issue here is the banning of cell phones from schools because they can be used to video tape people is ridiculous, they should be banned from schools because a phone is not needed for learning.

The big issue of banning people from having camaras in public places is that the governement (here in phila) has placed public camaras on the streets to scare off drug dealers and violant crime. (you can see them for yourselves on girard ave. around 10th street).

If the government can video tape me in public areas then I reserve the right to video everyone else in public places. When my children go to school I will be sure to pack their lunch with a video recorder lol.

Laura says:

I think it’s good for children to have a way to show their parents how they are being treated by the teachers. Many children dont have parents that will believe what they say all the time it’s a good way to prove themselves. My Little brother is going thru a similar situation but he has a family that believes him many children dont have that. I dont think cell phones should be banned from schools.

Adele says:


I have viewed this video in dismay and being a teacher, I can totally understand why this man lost his temper on those disgusting kids. First of all, they set him up. They recorded him and they placed the footage on the web for a public humiliation, what’s wrong with our society? I can’t believe that no one has mentioned the fact that those kids were swearing at this teacher and he obviously lost it because they were taunting him. He didn’t throw the kid of the chair he gently removed it from under him. I am so sick of the way in which we study educators under the microscope. Are children accountable for their behaviour? Not only should they be suspended, but cell phones should be banned from classrooms period! They are used as tools to subjugate people to horrible public humiliation. Is this the modern method of witch hunting?

aquadaisy says:

Wiretapping laws

Is it legal for my husband and I to install a video recorder on our daughter’s backpack? Our daughter attends an elementary school where the principal couldn’t care less about what goes on. The teacher is so worried about the TAKS tests that her students voice -their- concerns about it, daily. (Some of the kids get sick to the point of throwing up because they are so nervous about passing the test. THESE ARE 9-YEAR OLD KIDS.)

No one seems to take anything too seriously at this school. My husband and I feel that if we record this teacher losing her temper, going overboard, and bullying the kids (as they children allege,) the footage might convice the school administration to take action against this teacher, who has been described by some of the children as, “mean” “evil” and “scary.”

Any advice you offer will be appreciated. We feel that it is our right to see what’s -really- going on in the classroom, but do not want a lawsuit brought against us if secretly videotaping is, in fact, illegal.

Jill says:

Dearest Aquadaisy

Look people. Teaching is an incredibly difficult job. If you have never taught, you will never begin to imagine what it takes to teach. I can guarantee most of you couldn’t do it. If anything teachers aren’t allowed to discipline enough. Unfortunately we have a society of people who think their children can do no wrong. I find that parents that want to make excuses for their children’s behavior are the reason children continue to have incredibly disrespectful and dangerous behavior. For instance, I have a child in my class that bullies and threatens the lives of other children. Yes mom and dad, this child says, “I’m going to kill you, ” to other students. He brought a knife to school. The parent came to school today, interrupted my class to pull me out in the hallway. She told me off because she thinks he should be able to get water “whenever he pleases.” Of course I want my students to be hydrated and comfortable. But with a class of 22 eight year olds, they can’t just get up and get water whenever the feeling hits them. We would never get anything done. I especially can’t trust a child that threatens other students and brings a knife to school.

All children are going to say teachers are mean. Teachers have to be stern and even lose their tempers or they would never control a class.

Aquadaisy, go ahead, make excuses for your lousy, spoiled child. Suppose you do videotape the ‘evil’ teacher. One of those ‘evil’ teachers that chose teaching as a career because they actually wanted to contribute to the world and help people learn. That ‘scary’ teacher that could make TWICE as much money having an easier job. I’m sure they wanted to teach just to be ‘mean’ to children.

Because Aquadaisy, I know that teacher will be better off than you, even if you record them, gasp, ‘losing his or her temper.’ YOU will reap the consequences of not disciplining your child. YOU will have to live with your ungrateful and disrespectful child and the pathetic adult they become.

And for all of you that are not supportive of teachers: YOU are the reason people leave teaching by the masses and no one wants to teach. I know I will be able to educate my child. You deserve the education system you demise.

Andrew Herzman says:

rights of child

I remember multiple outbursts by female teachers throughout elementary school. We were all well behaved kids, but these women seemed to “snap” and start yelling for 5-10 minutes nonstop. I remember one incident that was triggered because a child started a sentence with the word “I”. She wrote a big “I” on the board and started screaming about how everybody is all about “I”. We were all terrified. I wish there were cellphones back in the 60’s, since these women had some real issues that were damaging to such young students.
Is there a support group for kids who were subjected to that?

Elly says:

Out of context

i fail to see how a video can be a misuse of evidence, or “out of context”. surely anyone behaving in such a way deserves to be sanctioned, even if, although i doubt it, it was a one tume occurence, and as fo “false accusations”, how can peraps he most reliable and unchangable type of evidence around be used as somply an accusations.

I’m guessing you must be from america, as where i’m from we wuoldn’t be worried about lawsuits. Typical…

rabbit says:


I believe that the youth of today are getting away with practically anything they want. Why these kids have all of this expensive technology in the first place boggles my mind? Did they buy it? No, their parents wasted the money! When I was a student my teachers constantly disciplned us by yelling: Half the time it was the only thing that worked and we absolutely deserved it. In junior high, my math teacher threw a desk at a rotten student, who completely deserved it. I agree that this teacher should not have been disciplined. This is a school with sense! Those little rotters deserved more than a suspension! Like they would get away with that in the work force? Not likely. Personally I blame parents. I knew that if I came home from school after misbehaving BOTH my parents would have smacked me good, and then made me apologize to my teacher. Why are there so many teen pregnencies? Stabbings? Shootings among kids? Because of lack of proper discipline. The worst thing they ever did was take the strap out of school. What these kids today need is a good, hard smack in the head. Maybe they’d think twice!

Sharazel says:

Why, back in my day...

Look at all this BS! “Kids shouldn’t be allowed to have cellphones!” “Teaching is sooooo difficult, you couldn’t POSSIBLY understand!” “Those kids must have egged him on, so we can forgive him for being a violent, screaming psycho.”

You shove a bunch of teenagers into classrooms all day, forcing them to submit to unknown authority, respect the words of those who haven’t earned it, who have no connection to them other than what is forced on them. You feed them amphetamines to help them concentrate. You create an ever more restrictive environment, where every schoolyard scuffle winds up involving police, and girls are prosecuted for teasing another girl who commits suicide. You try to fit some pre-designed chunk of knowledge into brains already dealing with more information than they ever did before, whether or not it suits them at all, in part because these days, tragically, a college degree, and therefore college prep, has become almost essential in making any sort of decent living.

The school system is not designed to educate, it is designed to program, to make compliant little corporate drones. Human nature rebels against such conditioning, and so the students are unruly. This teacher is part of a dehumanizing system set up for the profit of a few at the expense of the many. You think you’re noble, but you’re just tools, and you deserve to be disrespected.

Steve says:

Who's To Blame In Cameraphone Recording Of Teacher

Yeah, why would you tolerate that disrespect? She should have just physically assaulted a young child. That would have defused the situation. If he needs to respect our flag and country and education system more, you, as a teacher, should just hurt him, and try to ignore the fact that you represent all of the above to him more than anything in his life right now. That’ll teach him what the school and his country really thinks of him.

Paul says:

What the hell?

Seriously? This video, that shows nothing, shows a teacher “losing his temper”? If this is evidence of that, then you people are STUPID. He just yells. Big deal. As far as “kicking” the chair out from under someone? Did the child fall and hit the ground? No. He just got bitchy because someone was making him be respectful. This is a pathetic excuse by fucking teenagers to make something out of nothing. Congrats for aiding it.

Kathleen Bailey says:

video taping in class with a camera phone

Being a teacher who was recently videoed without my permission or knowledge until after the fact, I think the students should be punished. It’s against the law, they should know better and it’s perfectly rude to film without the teacher’s permission, whether it’s for good or evil, it’s wrong. Permission should always be asked for in any situation involving a person’s image on video!

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