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Should Teacher of Bullied Child be Fired?

A father says he wants a teacher fired for allegedly bullying, or allowing other staff members to bully, his autistic son. Do you think he is right? Should the teacher be fired?

A YouTube video made by an angry New Jersey father entitled "Teacher/Bully: How My Son Was Humiliated and Tormented by his Teacher and Aide," has gone viral. According to a report on Fox News, the father, Stuart Chaifetz, sent his 10-year-old autistic son to school with a hidden microphone. On the recording, shared in a 17-minute YouTube video, staff could be heard berating the boy, including calling him a “bastard.”

Multiple voices can be heard on the tape and the school district has reportedly said that those identified as participating have been fired. But the child's teacher, Kelly Altenburg, is still employed with the Cherry Hill Public School District. Chaifetz was told, however, that she has been “reassigned.”

A spokesman with the New Jersey State Teachers' Association said Altenburg’s voice is not specifically identified on the tape. Chaifetz said he believes the teachers' union is protecting her because of tenure and he wants her fired.

What do you think? Should she be fired?

Sharon Swanepoel April 27, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I agree, it's sort of another one of those cases where "the buck stops here!" Allowing it to happen on your watch is something that can't be tolerated either. I think she should be given a hearing, but if it is found that she was present and didn't stop or report the behavior, then the failing is hers too and she should take the fall as well. I know that sometimes children can be very difficult, but that goes with the job.
Joseph Wade April 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Well, I can not access the video on my work computer. (It is well filtered.) However, Kathryne Ross' comment makes one assumption not clearly supported by the report: "…over about 6 hours so (the teacher) probably was (present)." But, worth noting, Ms Ross does not clearly claim that the teacher was present or seem to clearly assume that the teacher was present. She does seem to take a neutral ground on this point. Was the teacher present? Only the school and the children in the class can answer that. However, those clearly identified are stated as having been fired and the teacher, due to the questionable nature of the evidence and suppositional situation, is reassigned (meaning no contact with the child. For the moment, until culpable presence is clearly and reasonably indicated, the action is appropriate. Also, if the teacher is found guilty, whe will face both legal action and the loss of her teacher's certification. If she did prison time, her next teaching assignment (if she lived), might be teaching GED classes in prison. Only question not seemingly asked: "Why did the child not speak up to the teachers?" Possible answer: fear that another person in authority in the same setting would simply repeat the bullying, or that those already shown as guilty would hear about it and punish him further. (e.g. "If you tell, we will kill your parents")
Athens Mama April 28, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Stu Chaifetz is a modern day hero!! There should be legislation in place in every state in our country that requires these people to be fired immediately after an investigation yields findings of guilt. The child's Autism causes him to be challenged in the area of communication ~ that's why he didn't speak up. That's why this is even more disturbing than the cases of children being verbally abused in our own area!
Athens Mama April 28, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I have listened to the audio. As I understand it, Stu Chaifetz, who is familiar with Kelly's voice, identified her as one of those speaking inappropriately in front of the children.
M.K. OSBORNE April 28, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Fire em up !!! We dont need employees that teach ,only true teachers need to apply .

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