Gwinnett classroom attack stirs social media

An apparent incident of bullying at a Gwinnett County school has many parents and students concerned about safety issues. A video of a violent incident between two girls at Creekland Middle School began circulating earlier this week on on social media. The incident happend on Monday, Jan. 22, when a seventh-grade girl hit another girl with a chair, then hit her in the head with her hand, said Gwinnett County Schools officials.

“This incident occurred at the end of the school day and the victim reported this situation to an administrator,” wrote Sloan Roach, Gwinnett schools spokeswoman, in an email to the AJC. “In addition to disciplinary action, the student also is facing criminal charges. As this situation did occur in the classroom, the school also is addressing this issue with the teacher. This type of behavior is not acceptable and the school took immediate action.”

SCHOOL NEWS: Gwinnett school locked down after parent allegedly threatened student

ON MYAJC: Gwinnett says students’ digital learning days were a success

The names of students haven’t been released, but Principal Eddie Maresh sent home a letter to parents “to reassure you that we are aware of this situation and have dealt with it appropriately.” Maresh wrote, “As you know we are focused on providing students with a safe and positive teaching and learning environment. Although the vast majority of our students follow school rules, when misbehavior occurs we deal with it quickly. In addition, we work directly with the parents of the students who are involved in a situation.”

The student who is seen hitting the other was charged with simple batttery, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Because of the social media postings, Maresh said he’s received a number of calls and wanted to reassure the community that the situation is being dealt with.

Most of the Facebook posts questioned the teacher’s whereabouts.

Tamara King didn’t have any first-hand knowledge of the incident, but what she saw online prompted to post a comment.

“I hate to see those videos showing up,” she told the AJC. “It seems like the problem is growing. As I mother of a kindergartner I worry that seeing violence will desensitize kids into thinking it’s O.K.”

Like Gwinnett County News on FacebookFollow us on Twitter and Instagram

Although Gwinnett School officials haven’t said whether the teacher was present, there doesn’t appear to be any adult supervision in the video.

“Supervision of students is part of a teacher’s duties and responsibilities,” wrote Roach in another email to the AJC. “In addition, teachers are evaluated on their work to create a positive learning environment. It is our expectation that students will be monitored while they are in the classroom. In addition, to the principal’s work with the teacher, Human Resources is investigating this situation.”

The National Education Association Office of General Counsel has compiled a list of what it calls “Seven Deadly Sins of School Employees.”

Leaving students unsupervised is one of the actions listed.

“Indefensible. When you walk away, something bad will happen, (little Billie will somehow blind Sally with a paperclip), and it will be entirely your fault. I understand the “need to use the bathroom” defense. Sadly, that won’t help,” it reads. “Someone must be supervising students during even a quick bathroom break (secretary, paraprofessional, even a custodian). Having someone “watch” from the next room isn’t enough. The number one job of a teacher is to supervise students, no exceptions.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Education

Atlanta school board to vote Monday on tax rate
Atlanta school board to vote Monday on tax rate

The Atlanta school board will set the property tax rate Monday, following a third and final public hearing. Atlanta Public Schools administrators recommended the school board reduce the millage rate by 1-mill to 20.74-mills, but some tax payers who attended the first public hearing this week have asked for greater relief in a year where Fulton County...
Clayton Schools leader: ‘What we’re doing is creating a culture’
Clayton Schools leader: ‘What we’re doing is creating a culture’

Morcease Beasley paused amid comments on Clayton County Public Schools’ mission, put his hands together and took a more direct turn. “We’ve got to give every child what they need,” said Beasley, beginning his second year as the metro Atlanta school district’s superintendent. Beasley was holding court with journalists from...
Study links teen smartphone usage to attention-deficit/hyperactivity
Study links teen smartphone usage to attention-deficit/hyperactivity

As a parent, I’ve seen real differences in my older kids and their friends – now in their late 20s – and my 19-year-old twins and their peers. The chief difference is the level of interaction with the world around them, including friends sitting next to them in a packed minivan. And the cause is the ever-improving smartphone that...
Metro Atlanta students report back to school on these dates
Metro Atlanta students report back to school on these dates

Like an ice cream cone that melts too quickly, summer break is almost over, and school buses and parents — no longer off the grid for vacations — will again squeeze onto Atlanta roadways during rush hour. Most metro area school districts will open their doors in early August, taking in more than 800,000 students, though more than one...
Days after announcing new hire, Atlanta mayor takes back job offer
Days after announcing new hire, Atlanta mayor takes back job offer

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms last week named 30-year-old Aliya Bhatia as the city’s first chief education officer, but The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has confirmed that Bottoms withdrew Bhatia’s job offer within days of the announcement. Bottoms provided no explanation for rescinding the offer. The mayor often pledged to create...
More Stories