Arundel Middle Teacher Placed on Leave Following 'Disturbing' Video
A video shared on Facebook shows a teacher in a verbal back-and-forth with a student. School officials said the teacher showed "poor judgment."
A teacher at Arundel Middle School was placed on leave after an incident that became public in a video showing what appeared to be a confrontation with students regarding behavior in the classroom. The video of the Wednesday incident was posted online and is under investigation by the school system.
The nearly 14-minute video was originally posted on Facebook and later was also posted to Youtube. It appears to have been taken by another student using a camera phone. It apparently shows a teacher, identified as Latesha Blue, chastising a student for talking back to her.
"Everyone in this classroom saw how you were being disrespectful," the woman in the video says.
The student responds: "And everyone in this classroom saw how you were treating me."
At one point, the woman refers to the student as a "little girl."
"She wants to be grown, but this is what little girls do," the teacher is seen telling the class. "That's how little girls act. If you want to be a grown woman, act like a grown woman and shut your mouth when someone is talking."
The video was recorded on Wednesday, and school officials were notified of the incident before it was posted online, according to Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier.
Arundel Middle School Principal Yolanda Clark said in a letter to parents that Blue had shown "poor judgment" in behavior toward students in two classrooms. The classroom depicted in the video appears to be that of another teacher who is shown only from behind.
"This behavior is inconsistent with that which we expect of our educators, and our school system is addressing this matter quickly," Clark wrote.
Mosier said the school system is investigating the incident and declined to comment on what, if any, rules or policies were broken. He said Blue is on leave indefinitely.
"The video is clearly disturbing," he said. "It is not indicative of the great work our teachers do in the classroom each day."
Mosier said Blue has been a county teacher since August of 2007 and came to Arundel Middle in August of 2010. Blue is listed on the Arundel Middle School website as a teacher in the AVID program.
The origin of the argument is unclear, and it is not known what events preceded those appearing on the video, though at one point the teacher alludes to the fact that she had spoken to one student's mother.
At several points, the teacher refers to her reputation as a teacher in the county and alludes to the notion of students setting her up.
"Everyone at the school board knows me," she said. "Everybody from [Superintendent] Dr. Maxwell on down. So you all can play these games of setting someone up, but I'm not. I have a good name in this school. I have a great reputation not only in this school but through the school board. If you want to go ahead start a mess, you're starting with the wrong person."
After about 10 minutes, the video shows the teacher leaving the room while the other teacher addresses the class.
"When you come across with an attitude and you have a strong-willed person, that only aggravates," the teacher tells the class. "Sometimes what you're saying is perceived as aggressive ... Ms. Blue is very strong-willed."
The video has received wide circulation on Facebook, with more than 280 people sharing it and hundreds more offering comments.
"This woman needs to be fired immediately," Facebook user Autumn Doscher wrote. "Her behavior is absolutely inappropriate."
Other Facebook users offered similar sentiments.
"There is a way to get across your point without making scolding her in front of her classmates. Just adds fuel to the fire, I think," Steve Baker wrote.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the day in which the incident took place. It happened Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Note: Odenton-Severn Patch initially embedded the relevant video from Facebook, but has since embedded the video from Youtube. Commentary attached to the Youtube clip does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Patch or its staff.