Teachers support instructor caught on video in fight with student

- The video went viral after FOX 2's story of a teacher and a middle school student's brawl in the middle of the classroom. The student gave her side of the story, claiming her innocence in the melee at Mackenzie Elementary Middle School. But FOX 2 has extended video of the fight and it has teachers handing over support for the instructor.

The teacher is on administrative leave pending the investigation. The student's legal guardian says the preteen could face charges in juvenile court for the fight.

"I pushed her hand again and that's when she pushed me," said student Diamonique Singleton in a previous report. "I pushed her back and we started fighting."

Singleton, a seventh grader, as seen in the video as the one wearing the white shirt with the black sweater, is insistent she was walking away from the conflict.

"This whole incident started with throwing paper. The paper was thrown at the teacher," says Tracy Brown, a teacher at Mackenzie Elementary. "The teacher was called a foul name and was pushed, and, as you can see in the video, the teacher was horribly assaulted by the student."

After FOX 2 received and aired the video, we obtained a longer version of it that puts the school skirmish in a new light. A former Mackenzie teacher who did not want to be identified blames the student and school conditions for the scuffle.

"It's plain to see the student is the one who instigated the whole thing," the former teacher says. "She got up into the teacher's face."

She says there's only one security guard at the school for 1,100 students and, while her colleagues there are dedicated and doing the best they can, at times it's just not enough.

"There is no discipline plan in place. So, especially the middle school, it's pretty much a free for all," says the former teacher.

Detroit Teacher's Union President Ivy Bailey says the teacher, seen in the video wearing the gray shirt, was the victim of teacher baiting.

That's when a student "agitates the teacher, egging her to respond in a negative way, or putting her in a situation to have to defend herself" -- all while another student is recording it.

"Unfortunately, this is not a rare situation in our schools," Brown says. "So many times our teachers are faced and placed in violent situations with our students. Many of our students come from troubling backgrounds."

Brown says the woman in this video is a top notch educator.

In fact, the teacher's union says because of her expertise in the classroom, she was requested to move into a middle school setting where Mackenzie has its more challenging students.

Now, her career could be in jeopardy after what some educators are calling a growing trend in public education.

"Unfortunately, schools today are very different and often times it's a difficult and dangerous situation, especially in Detroit," Brown says. "So many ofo ur students are troubled and then they watch shows like 'Empire' on your network and they think that that's appropriate behavior."

That teacher has been with DPS for nearly 20 years and prior to this, according to the teacher's union, had never been disciplined by the school district. As for the student, she may find out in a hearing tomorrow if she'll be expelled.

Stay with FOX 2 for updates. 


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