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Saturday, March 05, 2005

NJ Teacher Looses Mind, Media, Pundits, School Blame The Students

This whole incident really pisses me off. The following is excerpted from http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/news/wabc_030105_classroomoutburst.html. Because I'm to lazy to sum up the story myself, that's why. The video of the incident can be found at the above link as well.

Here goes:

Voice of Stuart Mantel, teacher: "I don't wanna hear a sound! Not a sound!"

Students at Brick Township High School secretly recorded a video in their third period electronics class. The teacher, Stuart Mantel, was yelling at the students to stop fooling around during the nation anthem. But Mantel's angry tirade didn't end there. When one student refused to stand up for the national anthem, Mantel yanks the chair out from under him.

Voice of Stuart Mantel, teacher: "I am damn well serious!" Corey Zappo, seen mugging for the camera, was suspended for 15 days following the taping. It was his camera, hidden in a sweater, that captured the outburst that Corey then posted on his personal website.

Corey Zappo, Student: "We knew he was gonna go crazy. He frequently yelled at us. He used to slam the hammer on the desk when we wouldn't shut up."

Corey's father showed us the letter explaining his son's suspension, in part for skipping class and in part for misbehaving in electronics class. Brick school officials will not revel whether the teacher faced any sanctions for his behavior.

Peter Zappo, Student's Father: "Maybe they shouldn't have videotaped him but yet the teacher acted inappropriately - they put it on film - and it seems the only ones who suffered the consequences for this was the kids."

Stuart Mantel the electronics teacher had no comment. Brick's Superintendent says the student was well within his first amendment rights to stay seated during the national anthem, but it was the covert videotaping that really bothered him.

Dr. Thomas Seidenberger, Brick Township Superintendent: "You hope that kind of stuff doesn't happen in the classroom. It's certainly something that we don't advocate." In response to this incident, Brick school officials are reconsidering total ban on cell phones in the school and they plan to restrict the use of all cameras inside as well.

Brick Township police say they are investigating the students for other images caught on videotape. The school would say only that they are cooperating with the investigation and that the release of their video was not the only reason the students were suspended.

The first thing that sticks out here is what a lot of the people are bothered about the most: a student was video taping stuff in class. This blows my mind. We are under surveillance all the time. And especially students are today. Is it not fair for someone to keep an electronic eye on the authorities as well.

Second: to the best of my knowledge (and I could be wrong here, if I am, please let me know) a federal court decided a few years ago that students in public schools could not be forced to sing or salute during the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem. They must remain respectful, but they can not be forced to stand. Therefore, this teacher’s demands and his assault on the student are unfounded on their face. This fact makes his actions even more abhorrent.

The STUDENT WHO WOULDN’T stand has now been suspended. As you read, there were 2 reasons fro the suspension: Skipping class, and not standing for the Anthem. Now, suspending a kid for skipping classes is quite fine and necessary, though I suspect the main reason for the suspension was the anthem episode.

Now I’m not saying these kids were angels, obviously they weren’t. But the teacher crossed the line, and crossed it further into criminal assault. If he can’t handle the kids, bring in a better teacher. If they are uncontrollable, you kick them to a reform school or alternative school. Yelling and assault is not a good plan.

I want this teacher fired, I want his pension gone, and I want charges filed against him for assault. Of course, what I want doesn’t matter and none of that will ever happen. I just really hate when authorities get power mad and do crap like this. Cop beatings, sadistic teachers, it’s all power madness. And worse, they rarely if ever are held accountable.

Have fun in school next week kids.


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