For some reason, parents in a small Michigan town are rallying behind a fifth-grade teacher who decided it would be a good idea to record an autistic kid struggling with his head stuck in a chair instead of helping the kid out.
The incident occurred back in November at Oaktree Elementary School in the town of Goodrich, reports area CBS affiliate WNEM.
As the unidentified 11-year old student is wedged from his neck up, the teacher, Nicole Mcvey, whipped out her cell phone and recorded the action.
According to WNEM, the principal comes into the classroom at one point during the video and declares that the situation is not an emergency.
He resigned a short time later. (It’s not clear if his resignation was related to the chair episode in Mcvey’s class.)
The autistic student was stuck in the chair for between 10 and 15 minutes.
Mcvey was placed on paid administrative leave at some point. She remains on paid administrative leave.
The school board voted to fire Mcvey late last year. However, no firing has occurred.
In a statement, school district Superintendent Scott Bogner told WNEW that Michigan’s tenure law gives public school teachers “a right to a private hearing of any charges.” He said the district will provide such a hearing.
An attorney who represents the boy and his family says his clients are contemplating a lawsuit. First, though, they want to see what happens in the teacher’s hearing.
At a local school board meeting on Monday night, a number of parents expressed support for Mcvey. The argument, apparently, is that the incident provided a teachable moment for the autistic student. It’s not clear if the lesson is simply “don’t stick your head in a chair” or something more complex.
Two local parents interviewed by WNEM supported the fifth-grade teacher to varying degrees.
“I don’t think she would do that to be mean,” suggested a dad who has grade school-aged kids in the district.
Another local parent, a mom, called the video “demeaning” and “tough for a parent to watch.” However, she took a nuanced view overall.
“I think maybe the teacher was trying to show him, you know, ‘Look what happens when you stick your head in a chair. Aren’t you embarrassed by doing that?’ But at the same time, I wonder if she was sensitive to the physical and the other problems that maybe the boy has,” the mom told the station.