VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach City Public Schools removed an eighth-grade civics teacher at Kempsville Middle School after a video started circulating on social media that shows him yelling at a student and, at one point, seeming to put his hands on him.
VBCPS didn't elaborate on the video or the circumstances surrounding it, but it said it was investigating what took place.
Someone shared a Facebook post with 13News Now that showed the confrontation. In the video, you see the teacher shouting at the student in front of the boy's classmates. During the interaction, the teacher yells, "Answer my question!" The response from the student is difficult to understand. The teacher then shouts, "Shut your mouth!"
A short time later, the student is back in his seat. It's at that point that the teacher reaches for the student's head and seems to make contact with the boy's right ear. It appears that the teacher removes an earbud from the student's ear which was visible when they were at the front of the classroom. The teacher makes a reference to something (presumably, the earbud) being illegal, and asks the student, "You want to play games with me?"
The conversation continues, with the student saying, "I don't care." The teacher tells him he has witnesses to all of what's happened.
Sandra Sosa, a Virginia Beach parent said the video was hard to watch.
"I'm just in shock looking at it," said Sosa. "There's no way that's acceptable. Even if the child was being rude, that's not acceptable."
Sosa is one of many parents who support the school district's decision to remove the teacher from the classroom for the time being.
However, another woman, who asked not to be named, said she has known the teacher in the video for many years.
That woman is a retired teacher who previously worked for Virginia Beach Public Schools. She told 13News Now she firmly believes the teacher in the video is a good person. She said he was her son's soccer coach and that she got to know him through her many years of teaching.
"I just think that he’s a really good teacher and I feel for the situation that he’s maybe gotten himself into," said the woman.
"I know him as a person and that is difficult because I do think he has given his all to the school system and to the students and is just a very good educator and very loyal to the students and the school system."
This is the full statement that the school division released:
An 8th-grade civics teacher has been removed from a Kempsville Middle School class, pending an investigation regarding a disturbing video that has come to our attention. Virginia Beach City Public Schools is committed to providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for our students and expect all staff to adhere to the highest ethical practices and conduct. We will not tolerate behaviors that do not align with our division’s core values, and we regret that these children had to experience and witness this conduct from an educator.