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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. 

Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Tracy...you were there? You know the whole story? or just the part of it you were TOLD...
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:05 PM
There is much more disruption than you think. I teach middle school. I am appalled and shocked at how kids act towards adults, each other, and the lack of respect for grades and school property. I feel like I am selling a piece of my soul every day I enter the building, and I count the days til the summer. There are still good kids, yes, but honestly, they number about 25% of what I teach. Thanks for being a PARENT, not just an egg donor.
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:23 PM
No, she is actually not an English teacher. Please get your facts straight.
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Good job to the kid who videoed it? That is breaking a school rule. So it is okay for the kids to not follow rules? As well, to video anything in a school, you must have written releases from the parents of EVERY child in that room. Did this kid do that? I doubt it...so, he should receive discipline as well. Don't say the rules are good for some and not for others! I am interrupted at lest 10 times a day by students who are texting during my class. Sometimes, it is their parent doing the texting. We all made it through school with no cell phones. So should they.
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Why air the teacher's dirty laundry unless you have the facts? Unless you know WHY she was out at the end of the year, don't talk about it. It really is none of your business anyway...
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Wow, all of you teacher haters should come to the school and hang out with me for a day. PLEASE do...see what REALLY happens. Radarradar, you seem to get a lot of misinformation. The principal, Dr. Ashworth, was not "canned" as you say, but rather was promoted to a position at the board of ed.
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Radarradar, wrong again. We want all students to succeed. However, those with free/reduced meal benefits, special ed, and those who are of non-white race are TARGETED and we are told those are the ones who had BETTER improve. I ask why we have to see color. Why can't we ask all students to meet the goals?
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Kara, they don't, and won't get it...easier to pass the blame. A shame, really, as teaching is what I was born to do, and I am really good at it. However, I want out. Tired of working a second job 30 hours a week because my chosen profession won't give me raises I am entitled to, yet have no issues with kids failing over and over again.
Sarah February 15, 2013 at 07:36 PM
radarradar...my sad, misinformed friend. You have a RIGHT to JUDGE us? Really? So, do we have a right to judge you as parents, especially since 10% of our job rating is based on whether or not your kids ATTEND school? Because in middle school, I have almost half of my kids who are absent 30% of the time or more. I have one girl I have seen three times ALL YEAR. So, in your words, "if a teacher's classroom skills are so lacking, it might be time to try another profession." Okay, let's take the kids who are not only failing MY class, but every one they have, gym included. I guess it is ALL of our faults. Never blame the child or the parents. Better yet, let's make your tax returns as parents dependent on how your children do in school academically, behaviorally, and attendance wise. Want to judge? Let's make it a FAIR playing field.
Jeff Andrade February 15, 2013 at 07:39 PM
I agree with Scott Smolen that this looks like a setup given the fact it was recorded by a student, and agree that this all went on way to long. That girl should have been bounced out of the class in less than 2 minutes, and then let everyone get back to work. This kid is not the teacher's peer. You don't allow a dialogue with these little punks. This whole incident and the comments from other teachers on what's really happening in the schools, is just another example of the out-of-touch leadership of Superintendent Maxwell and his crew and the unelected Board of Education that has been keeping him there. We won't get stuff like this to change until we get some accountability at the top to the taxpayers who are providing the funds for this.
BeenThereDoneThat February 17, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Your child behaves in such a way that he or she has been chastised by FOUR teachers, and your position is that your child's problem lies with the Board of Education? Interesting illustration of previous comments. Thanks.
John Severino February 17, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Cameras in the classroom are a good idea for many reasons. Most of you seem to be ignoring the information as to Blue taking over the other teacher's class to perform this action. That point, if true, makes the action premeditated and therefore inexcusable. Points are being raised about the pressures on teachers, the incompetence of many teachers, and the lack of respect shown by students. I agree that all three exist. But fixing all of that is not a prerequisite making a call as to whether this teacher and the by standing teacher acted inappropriatly. I think both did and that Blue should be dismissed and the bystander should be suspended. The student did nothing wrong that I could see. Again, cameras in the classroom are a good idea for a society such as ours where adults cannot be trusted to act like civilized adults without universal scrutiny. And perhaps cameras would prove to a child's hyper individualistic, selfish, and entitlement expecting parents that their child is not perfect.
Jordan February 18, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Most teachers don't abide by the phone rule and most schools changed the no electronics rule during school hours so they are more used without penalty.
Jordan February 18, 2013 at 01:47 AM
The fact that she didn't call an advocate or have an administrator take care of the incident immediately is what confuses me. Taking time away from not one but TWO classes just to prove a point to a child. Any administrator could have called home and talked to the child -- usually straighten your attitude or go home is whats said. But to cause commotion and get within the child's face is premature.
radarradar February 18, 2013 at 03:58 AM
@thestruggleoflife As a matter of fact, I HAVE been in classrooms for over twenty years. And I have been in very 'challenging schools. And I have NEVER lost control of a class like that, nor have I ever lowered myself to the point of going nose to nose with a ten year old. So please, quit defending bad teachers. It does a disservice to the good ones.
radarradar February 18, 2013 at 04:13 AM
@Sarah You're kidding me, right? The former principal was indeed CANNED after she insisted on continuing an ILLEGAL, race-based school group. Until, that is, was exposed by a parent who had the bravado to call her out while testifying before the school board. Unfortunately, the cowards in high places don't actually FIRE anyone; they simply 'warehouse' bad teachers and administrators, basically paying them to not come into contact with kids. Which wastes money that could certainly be used to hire better teachers. You are among the ill-informed, not me.
radarradar February 18, 2013 at 04:20 AM
@Sarah If that is indeed the case, YOU and your fellow educators have a responsibility to take a stand against the administration and get the focus back on educating those who are in class for the right reasons. If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
radarradar February 18, 2013 at 04:49 AM
@Sarah,my liberal, public-sector union lackey. My kids are EXCELLENT students, maintaining good grades, possessing good morals and show pride in their school. Yet they see teachers who sit back while bad kids disrupt class over and over and over again. Show a spine, quit complaining and stand up for the deserving kids. And, yes, as taxpayers we have EVERY right to judge those who receive OUR hard earned money in order to make sure it's spent properly. Why aren't teachers going en mass to the BOE to demand that bad kids (especially their parents) are held responsible for their kids behavior? Could it be that they are fearful of hurting the 'self esteem of kids acting like thugs, or are they too busy complaining about pay-related issues (really, you are not the only public-sector employees going without raises). Maybe you should consider saving some bucks by leaving your money-sucking unions. I don't see teachers getting much bang for their buck in that regard, unless you think protecting bad teachers instead of rewarding good ones is a worthy goal.
radarradar February 18, 2013 at 04:57 AM
I completely agree that cameras would be helpful.
radarradar February 18, 2013 at 04:58 AM
Well said.
Shane Wolfe February 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM
I'm not agreeing that what the teacher did was OK, but I'm really surprised this video is still up. I haven't watch the whole thing, but at any moment does she realize or is she told that she is being recorded? Maryland has some pretty strict wire-tapping laws.
radarradar February 18, 2013 at 01:51 PM
From what I've gathered the teacher was never aware. And I really do not care WHAT law the kid may have broken. If this incident was never documented, I doubt that the school would have taken any type of action against the 'teacher' involved. Those laws are antiquated and should be struck from the books. Big Brother should not be the only entitiy out there able to record and document what's going on in the world.
Chris W February 18, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Sorry, but you are not "entitled" to a raise. You decided on a career in public service. Perhaps you should have gone into business or something else.
Chris W February 18, 2013 at 02:47 PM
There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with problem students. This teacher chose the wrong way and deserves what she gets. The student may have been challenging her authority. She may have acted out in different ways. If that was the case, the teacher should have referred her to the principal, that is why they are there.
Kelly Ricker February 18, 2013 at 06:16 PM
My children go to Anne Arundel County Public Schools. This is not the first time this has happened with a teacher however just the first time caught on tape. I would never want to have the job as a teacher. They are to teach our children however more and more they are babysitting our out of control children. I would not tolerate a teacher talking to my child like that but again I would tolerate my child talking to a teacher like this. I wish we had the full story on what caused this. I feel sorry for all in this matter the children, the teachers and now the school.
bob February 20, 2013 at 11:37 PM
All things considered, I think the BOE could use this video for new teachers on how NOT to resolve a dispute with a student
bob February 20, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Hey TEACHERS leave them kids ALONE! :-)
Genie Olson February 22, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I agree. I feel like there is much more to the story here, and it is not explained. The teacher should have been documenting student behaviors. Sometimes, even documenting does not mean that the teacher will get help with a mean or rude student.
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anthrogirl December 20, 2013 at 09:56 AM
Regardless of what the student did or what the back story was, this teacher's reaction was extreme. She confronted the child in front of other children rather than taking her to the office. She scared the child and her classmates. She continued to spray her fluids directly in the face of the child even after the child asked to stop doing so. This teacher is an embarrassment to the profession. And I know. I've taught middle and high school.

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