Students Taunt, Threaten and Antagonize a Teacher

Student attacks teacher over getting a failing grade and then posts to Facebook.


Students Taunt, Threaten, and Antagonize a Teacher   Video posted on FB on 11/3/15

On Monday, someone named Derk Brown posted a video to Facebook of teens taunting and threatening a teacher. I attempted to contact Mr. Brown however, he has not responded to my messages. According to his Twitter Page, he describes himself as a Ferguson Front Line Activists/Live Streamer. I too was curious, as many of you were if in fact the video was authentic or staged, we can only speculate however, if he is indeed a Live Streamer it may have been stage. Nevertheless, the behaviors observed are accurate in far too many classrooms in the U.S. Yet, the responses I received on my regular Facebook page were numerous and in most cases well thought out.

I asked my FBFs to provide me with five categories of what they observed in that video. The responses are listed below in the table below with a tally count. I combined like-categories so that the categories did not exceed five, except the one responder who thought the video was a poorly scripted documentary. Based on your comments I placed most remarks in a category consistent with expressed your opinion

Neglect/lack of        Mental Illness     Administration      Political    Lack of     Fake Video socialization from                              Failure and           Posturing  Resources                  Parents to Children                           Teacher                                                               Lack of Parental                                                          Involvement                                                                                                                        

11111                       11111  1                1111                 1111             1111            111

The responses and comments were relatively consistent across the board, with the  exception of the last column only one person thought the video was not real so all of this person’s tallies went in his category except one. Briefly, these numbers reflect that of the 26 responses identifying a category of the video every except for the person who did not believe the video was real 22 people indicated that the video represented students with one or more of the following:

  1. mental illness and/or defect:          19.2  %
  2. Neglect-lack of parenting:              23.0  %
  3. Administration/Teacher Failure     15.3   %
  4. Political Posturing                          15.3  %
  5. Lack of Resources                        11.5  %
  6. Video is a fake                               15.3  %

Therefore, this mini-survey indicates that the respondents visualized that the acting out behavior was a consequence of a lack of parenting, mental wellness, school administration, and a teacher failure to manage her classroom, lack of resources in and out of either the building, as well as a political posturing or maybe even a political statement.

It is my belief that Derk Brown staged this classroom mayhem to awaken those who are clueless as to the problems both students and teachers alike are dealing with on a daily basis.  While I can only infer Mr. Brown’s intent, it did indeed create a dialogue between my Facebook friends and family.  I was curious as to how people would react so soon after the South Carolina incident with the young

Mr. Brown I hope your purpose was in fact to demonstrate a teacher clearly in what some might perceive as danger, others might recognize the behavior as overtly unabashedly some even accused the teacher as a failure and others were ready to “mishandle” the annoying young man.

I think your intent was to demonstrate many things included but limited to the following:

  •  We do not know the story of these children (one of my respondent’s assessed particular disabilities)
  • Nor did we know whether the teacher was a substitute or the regular teacher?
  • Was this an ESS class or Inclusion?
  • Was this a regular school or a Suspension Center or Expulsion Center?
  • Does she know them?  Does she have a relationship with them?
  • Were any other adults nearby or if so, did they are enough to ascertain what was causing the disruption?
  • What about the security officer she keeps asking about where was he or she?
  • Did the situation eventually deescalate itself without police intervention?

I know from experience a number of various possible outcomes could have occurred, yet many people made varied assumptions and I suspect that was the purpose of your video.

Joshua Wolff, “for all who may be unfamiliar, I used to work with Mary Anne Boissiere in a very similar, if not tougher, classroom environment than what’s shown here. Mary Anne was the best at de-escalating incredibly tense/violent/tinder box moments like this.”  It is refreshing to hear from a colleague from eight years ago and it was humbly to hear his recall of how I deescalated serious moments.  How did I do it then and find that the students today are even more unstable and danger lurks within school buildings.

Did I take time to know my students?  Yeah, I did and there were some students I just knew they would be all right!  Others, well let us just say they with a bit of luck  never knew what I really thought of them, as they should not have known.  It was not my job to be their friend, I have been just their teacher and I expected the basic courtesies I extended to them back to me.  It worked most of the time.  However, as Josh stated, we worked in environments much tougher than Mr. Brown’s video.

Yes, we all know it begins at home what we fail to realize is that “it” really begins at home.  “It” being that harsh reality or nightmare many kids live.  The hunger, exploitation, abuse, and parents too busy to provide them with the attention they so desperately need.  Do not misunderstand me, I know there are kids who will never (sad as it may be) be SAVED or withheld from a life of crime and eventual prison or death.  They know it also, so they throw M & Ms at the teacher to see if she will “rat” them out, abandon them, yell/scream/curse them.  She does not, but why?  Is she afraid or is this her strategy?  Is it effective?  How can we tell from the brief peek into their lives-in-that-moment-in-that-classroom?

So, many questions?

When students attack each other?  Then what?


23 thoughts on “Students Taunt, Threaten and Antagonize a Teacher

  1. Sheila Ealey says:

    I can see where many would think this was staged. It’s difficult to see a teacher who seems to have forgotten or hasn’t been given any professional development on how to effectively manage her classroom. We also don’t have any background information on the mental health of the children involved. There are many unanswered questions which leads to speculation and propaganda which is detrimental to the teacher and students involved.

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Or maybe the woman was a first time/first week substitute. I know you know this I just folks got to caught up in the whether the video was staged or not when it seems the message was not about video but the behaviors of the students and the helplessness of the teacher. The reality is that this does happen in schools across the nation – NOT in the schools of the policy makers but in the communities most likely to be tracked for the STPP. Too many folks talked about what they would do, or declared the children as ESS kids, or the teacher as incompetent. ONLY A FEW OF MY FBF got the message….so, I ask again what do you think this video was made [or captured] and posted?

    2. Dr. MABL says:

      Listen Sheila, Listen (as in Listen Linda listen)
      I suspect and I speculate that Derk Brown the videographer wanted to do exactly what he did and generate the traffic to have people around the world taking about the video but also about digging deeper into what is happening in this country.

  2. Felicia Shelton says:


    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Felicia, How so?

  3. Nola says:

    Results are not surprising…..blame seems to fall heavily on poor parenting and mental and behavioral related problems.

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Who would you say is responsible for children acting out as demonstrated in the video?

    2. Dr. MABL says:

      It does but those are not the real problems they are the manifestation of what is occurring in the lives of the General Help (H). Wrap around services should be available for every child in this country, this might lend itself to healing.

  4. Trent says:

    When conversations about acting out behavior initiates, I often wonder how cognizant those who choose to dialogue about the subject matter are on the imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy that produced people of color which contributes to the shaming behavior exhibited through the lens of the dominant mass media…

  5. Trent says:

    There is something amiss when we don’t recognize, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”, Audrey Lorde. These incidents are attempts by the imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy to shame people of color. We all know what shame leads to, trauma. And then trauma leads to depression and so on and so forth. This model has been used by the dominant society on us for centuries. This rot that has bored into our sensibilities can only be purged by self-actualization on the part of the many. People of color have no identity of their own under the current payriarchy. Who we are is defined by our colonizers and we have to first understand that before we can discuss the truth of this incident.

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Today we have SUCCESS
      And while we talk the talk —– We do not walk the walk.
      We can “For whom much is given much is expected” say it and talk about it and toast to it, but what do we do about it?
      Well I would like to see more Black people demand time to volunteer 4 – 6 hours a week at a local school! Than we can walk with our shoulders back, our heads held high and say I was given much and I am giving more – my time, my emotional capital, my ears that I listen intently and I learn….and we all learn and just maybe I can touch a life.

    2. Althea Cooper says:

      We have allowed our colonizers to define who we are, yet I would argue that we must redefine ourselves as Africans/Blacks living in America, because we have always been a part of a much greater family throughout the diaspora. Until we realize our place in the world, we will never truly understand the power we have over ourselves, and how we can create a nation of people regardless of our geographical locations.

      Our children (and many adults) need to first understand that our history did not begin with enslavement in America. If we do this, then we will understand the totality of our existence on the planet centuries ago, along with our contributions. Yet with that realization comes the fact that we always have been defined as who we are: Blacks/Africans.

      This is where creativity and community involvement should step in. We did not learn our history in schools either, yet we had access to it through community centers and our homes, where the adults stepped in and stepped up to teach us who we were. I do not expect our oppressors to want to educate our children, because it is counter-productive to their goals. Once we truly understand that fact, we will again rise up to the challenges and face the truth, then aggressively plan methods to educate our youth. It is OUR responsibility to teach our truth, because no one else wants to do it. They are who they are, now we must rise and be who we are!

  6. Trent says:

    Do we call the children who bring guns to school in white rural areas animals? Yet we don’t think twice about saying that about brown kids that look like us. What do we call governments that send these young people to war to protect the imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy that sheds innocent blood, massa…

  7. Trent says:

    Not only do I believe teachers do not get it, I am finding it increasingly difficult to trust those so often relied on to defend our interest in mass media because many of them do not appear to “get it.” The tropes that are legendary in society about black males, females and children have emasculated men in our community, shamed our black women into a false sense of beauty and stripped our children of the ability to think critically. Sadly, many of us accepted the “deadbeat dad” trope, the “welfare mom” trope and the our children are dumb trope with barely a raised eyebrow. I know because I was equally a victim of the same propaganda. Any of you who think enough of yourself to think you have made it and think you have laid a solid foundation for your family and those you care for had better rethink your master’s plan. I read somewhere that what you do to the least of these…No one is self made until they can say they control the economic drivers and those folks are not reading this dialogue.

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      So true, yet so misunderstood.

  8. Trent says:

    Try to understand the pain we have created in our children’s lives by not giving them a true picture of the world they live in. All this clap trap about praying and reading your Bible and God will provide…He already has. You can acquire wealth through a great many avenues. God created those opportunities. Perhaps, people of color, God thought we learned our lesson from the last time we were the rulers of the world. You know, from the time of Solomon and all those other wealthy. people of color in the Bible. Self-actualization people. It is time for us to define us and not the dominant society. They have been defining us since slavery. They’re the ones that call our women welfare moms after they have driven a wedge between the black male and female by fostering an environment of mistrust. Did black men agree to accept less pay for less work and the lowest paying jobs in the marketplace and someone forget to tell me? Ok, did black women agree to accept even less? I am tired of hearing Uncle Tom’s on TV or in the newspapers talking negatively about people of color and ignoring these obvious facts that all people of color face daily. Call a spade a spade. These kids may not be able to express this line of reasoning but they live it everyday and it frustrates them. Teachers, stop calling kids that look like you stupid. Who’s really the stupid one, the child who doesn’t know or the educator who knows and isn’t wise enough to reach a dumbass child?

  9. Trent says:

    Who determines what is acceptable? Is it the individual? Perhaps your parents? Perhaps the president? Maybe our boss determines what is acceptable or not…Have you ever noticed that what you have always thought was acceptable for people of color often wasn’t acceptable in the dominant culture? Have you ever wondered why people of color seem to have higher standards than the white male culture? Have you heard of Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer or Jack the Ripper or Bernie Madoff or the names Kennedy or Rothschild or Rockefeller or Bush, etc. Have you ever been so fortunate as to get a running total of the behavior they have engaged in globally? Let’s be mindful of who determined what was acceptable for us and what their rationale was for sharing their value with the colored folk. We live in an imperialist white supremacist patriarchy and your stance is evidence of just how dominant that force is when we make value judgments.

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Great thought provoking questions.

    2. Dr. MABL says:

      People get really afraid when they hear words like imperialist, white supremacist patriarchy and socialist societies, because they have not read enough. Or there are of course those who know better or at best should know better who are the most disappointing. When we are in policy making decisions positions and forget our forefathers and live in our bubble without thinking of those less fortunate – then we fail our students and educators. Until of course we have that “Black Moment” when where you live or what school you attended or where you summered – does not matter because the folks in charge will simply tell you that what you did was unacceptable…and then what? What exactly have we witnessed when Black folks in positions of power or those held in high esteem “Have their Black Moment”?

  10. Althea Cooper says:

    I will share a few of the comments I made on the original thread on Dr. MABL’s Facebook page, with a few minor changes where necessary:

    I can offer a few categories to get the discussion going in a much healthier direction, because the only comment I’ve read (so far) that offers insight into what we’re viewing is from Lynn Ruffins Cave (2015). While I may understand the anger, I could never agree with lashing out at the students by calling them names. This is the end result of decades of:

    1. Neglect
    2. Abuse
    3. Administrative Failure
    4. Political Posturing
    5. Lack of Resources

    I’ve heard many people say that these students know what they are doing. That may be true, but do they know why they are so self destructive? I believe expounding on these five categories might answer that question. One visit to a nursery in the Labor and Delivery at any hospital will prove that no child is born an “animal” and there are no DNA found in an infant that proves they are animals. What we see in this video is the end result of how these students have been treated and what they have witnessed from the time they were taken home until the point of this video. None of them were born this way, and adults molded them- from home to the society-at-large. Human cells change from our dietary choices. If a children are not fed a healthy diet, they will not develop completely as they should, which can effect learning abilities. Yet that starts at home and with school lunch programs.

    Family structure is extremely important, yet we also know that we are witnessing the result of generational neglect and abuse in that regard. Yet we cannot also ignore the neglect and corruption from the various school board systems throughout the country that has contributed to this problem. From not paying teachers and administrators what their skills are worth, to not supplying them with the resources they need to successfully teach our children. It goes hand and hand.

    We can recall students in our classes (when we were that age) who were dealing with some very serious issues at home. Yet because the structure of our schools was different, there was no room for tolerance of bad behavior from students. There were counselors in the school, and more decent school lunch programs.

    Educating children use to be an administration-teacher-parents relationship. Go into any pre-school class and video that class. If those children are throwing desk at the teacher, I would be surprised. I’m not certain exactly where things go wrong, but there are children who can still learn, regardless of the neglect or abuse they get from home. No excuses for the parents …NONE…but school can still be a place where students can go for peace and a decent education if there was a healthier school environment.

    This is some parent’s #1 reason for choosing to homeschooling their children. While they may have to still be tested, there is more freedom with how they are taught and what other lessons they can learn outside of the traditional curriculum, such as Black/African History. I really believe if more students had knowledge of our story, they would begin to behave differently.

    It concerns me when adults begin to believe the propaganda that any factual explanations are now excuses for bad behavior. When any civilized society is faced with a problem, logically analyzing the problem, brainstorming viable solutions, creating a plan to implement those solutions, and solving the problems have always been the norm. When did that change and why are adults willing to allow it? Who will fight for the teachers AND the students?

    1. Dr. MABL says:

      Althea, I will Messenger Lynn (my cousin-in-law) and let her know you quoted her. I also inserted at date of the citation.
      As for your comments you are most certainly right and you know that…the system is broken. I used your categories as I hope you noticed in my blog they were consistent with different language with others who listed categories. However, we have a general consensus in that our kids come to school with problems and baggage beyond anything remotely close to the dysfunctions most of us had to endure. I have had kids with some of the following experiences:
      1. Taking care of siblings, nieces and nephews after school until bedtime – no time to be a teen or a kid
      2. A kid whose parent was killed execution style and found in the trunk of a vehicle and the counselors/teachers it was in his/her best interest to just return to school the next day as if everything were ‘normal’. Hell, I wasn’t normal for months after my mom died yet this child was expected to pretend he/his was normal. I pushed a bit and the child was approved for home schooling.
      3. A kid whose mother’s body was found on the side of a road – murdered
      4. Many kids young enough to get a short juvenile prison stint; for an older relative [and I would be the prosecutors know this is a common practice] yet, the go for the conviction.
      5. Girls when they were 8ish were put out until they made at minimum $200…..their jobs were to provide oral sex to johns, toms, mikes, josesphs etc., Prosecutors should focus on that demand side of the supply and demand of sex trafficking.
      6. Hungry, dirty, smelly, and clothes that haven’t been washed in weeks/months without a washing.
      7. Budding master-manipulators, sociopaths, psychopaths, murderers, and rapists.
      8. Victims of EVERYTHING except murder [no pun intended]. There actually was an article in a newspaper in this country about fatalities victims rarely speak to the authorities. – GO FIGURE
      9. FEAR
      10. Kids in jail – parents in jail
      And the list is as long as there are children. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (2014) 2.7 million students attended Public Charters. The National Center for Education Statistics reported 50.1 million will attend public schools for the 2015 -2016 school year.
      Additionally, most people unless you study the brain or simply have an interest in it as I do, do not know that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until the mid-twenties and some neuroscientist think even at the age of thirty. Why is this relevant? The pre-frontal lobe controls impulse, risk, planning, organizing, decisions making and cognitive skills [plus a few other things] teen are non-thinkers about consequences they take risks. HOWEVER, nurture, fear of disappointing parents, and the WILL to achieve also has some affect on the decisions most teens make, BUT if you live in a community that is not supportive and there is literally not hope for tomorrow – it affects behaviors and it disrupts class instruction etc.
      While our experiences as children and teens may have been difficult, it is my professional opinion that this generation is facing “something” far more deviant and the skills, support, and structure needed are not in place. So, we cannot compare [in my opinion] this generation after the millennials to any other generation – VIOLENCE and PROPOGANDA is contributing to the demise of General-HELP.

      1. Althea Cooper says:

        Understood, Dr. MABL, which is why I stated that “What we see in this video is the end result of how these students have been treated and what they have witnessed from the time they were taken home until the point of this video” in the beginning paragraph after the list of categories I offered. Neglect and abuse were the first two categories I listed, and that was intentional.

        There may be degrees of trauma (and I have actually witnessed a few that you mentioned when we were in school), but the end result is still the same: a child in need of help. The difference is that help was more readily available in our communities then it is today. We had the support of mainly women in our schools who either assisted the teachers or were volunteer cooks in the cafeterias, and they would make sure we ate well and had someone there to smile when we entered the classroom. In other words, even if our home life was dysfunctional, we knew there were adults who cared and nurtured our mind, body, and spirit in our schools.

        Many adults today tend to believe the false propaganda and want to blame our children for bad behavior rather then take the time to evaluate the end result and find methods to deal with these issues and use viable solutions to help our children. It is a cop-out on the part of the adults, and a very shameful truth, that most of us are guilty of this neglect, simply because we do not act.

        To answer your question regarding the brain, yes I do know this, which is another reason why we choose to homeschool our children. We did not believe that our children’s well being would be the main priority in the schools where we live. What we witnessed, at best, were a few administrators and teachers who did understand, care about, and knew how to address and teach our children in the most healthiest environments, yet the current system established did not support them.

        A few of my other comments on your Facebook thread stated the following:

        It takes a lot of understanding and patience (to educate traumatized children). We did not get where we are overnight, it’s going to take all of us working towards our goals. We (students and adults) have to learn in our own time….baby steps, until something clicks, then we soar.

        What’s sad is the parents/guardians who go along with that nonsense (propaganda) and do not take the time to research alternative approaches to emotional and mental health.

        Strength comes from uplifting our weakest link and, as you mentioned, sometimes the ones we perceive as our weakest may have very high IQs. We simply have not reached them yet.

  11. Trent says:

    Well said. Social responsibility faces greed and the desire to be a part of the “in crowd.” That is what segregation taught us. “In crowd” mentality created this beast. You don’t miss your water ’til the well runs dry…I thirst. Folks, it is time to dig a new well. A well that we design, build, dig and own and operate. These discussions are the planning phase. It starts with understanding the environment we operate in and questioning why we choose what we have chosen, a critical awareness is needed. Critical thinking has been virtually stifled by our parents…remember the retort, “Why are you asking me that?” or “That’s not your business.” Early vestiges of soul killing people…by our parents first, by you to your students and children.

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