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Tea For Two

By Tony Snyder | February 22, 2012

Have you seen this article yet? Here’s the quick and dirty:

Two high school boys were in a fight on school property. A female teacher sees the fight, verbally attempts to break up the fight, when she’s unsuccessful she pours her hot tea on the two boys. She warned them she’d do it, apparently they didn’t hear or didn’t believe her. Now one of the boys has filed an assault complaint with the local authorities and the school has placed the teacher on temporary leave.

Under Michigan law (and I’m paraphrasing), an assault is any harmful touching which isn’t consented to and isn’t appropriate for the safety and well being of the person doing the assaulting, nor being done to protect someone else. Ok, so the question really becomes: Was this action harmful with no other method available to provide protection?

This is a great issue to take to a jury. One the one hand, if I’m the attorney for the teacher I’m going to argue that kids are bringing guns to school, the fight was between an 18 year old and a 15 year old (as opposed to two students of the same age), teachers have a duty to keep our children safe, who knows what sort of injury could have occurred if it continued to escalate, etc etc.

On the other hand, if I”m the attorney for the 15 year old boy I would contend that there are numerous other ways to break up a fight, including but not limited to getting a male teacher, letting the boys fight to the death (well, not ALL of them will be good options), that hot tea is NOT the best way to achieve the desired outcome, serious injury could have occurred to both the boys, shouldn’t teachers have better judgment than high school boys…you get the point.

So what do you think? Was the teacher justified to take the actions she did or did it go to far? You by the judge!

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Topics: Criminal Law | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Tea For Two”

  1. Barb Pasch Says:
    February 22nd, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I think the teacher went too far with her actions and definitely SHOULD be charged with ASSAULT. Had she been injured by one of the boys while trying to break up the fight, this would not even be a discussion and the question about whether the boys were to be expelled would not even be a subject of discussion here. Schools have a zero tolerance policy against violence and teachers must be held to the same standards as the students or they send a mixed message to the kids. The difference is that the teachers are usually protected by a union, so even with pending or resolved charges, they are able to keep their jobs, where the students are expelled and that is where the zero tolerance policy goes terribly wrong. As mentioned in this article, “The school has placed the teacher on temporary leave.” Would that be temporary leave “with or without pay”???? The students are expelled and are unable to register at another school under school of choice due to the expulsion. What you failed to mention in your article Tony, is what punishment the boys received by the school. I’m sure they were punished for fighting.

  2. Jenny Dumont Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Call the police next time!

    However, if one of the kids would have been severely injured from the fight and the teacher just stood and watched without intervening, would that be considered conspiracy since she obviously knew about but didn’t do anything to stop it? Just throwing it out there :)

    Not to mention the potential civil suit either one of them, or the parents would put on the school system!

    Damned if you do! Damned if you don’t!