Teachers Caught Bullying Special Education Students on Tape Sparks Outrage

Two separate instances in Ohio and New Jersey where teachers, not students, were the bullies

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By Ray Downs, Christian Post Reporter
November 17, 2011|3:11 pm

A New Jersey teacher was caught on tape bullying a 15-year-old special needs student, calling him insulting names and even threatening to physically assault him. The incident comes soon after a lawsuit was filed against an Ohio teacher who was also caught on tape bullying and insulting a 14-year-old special needs student, giving rise to the question of just how common it is for cases like these to occur.

At the Bankbridge Regional School in Gloucester County, N.J., Julio Artuz, 15, was getting bullied nearly everyday by his teacher in front of the entire classroom, NBC News reported. But Artuz had enough, so he recorded his teacher berating and insulting him with his cell phone.

In the video, after the teacher calls Artuz "special," Artuz responds, "Don't call me special."

"Alright, what's going to happen to me?" taunts the teacher.

"I'm just telling you – don't call me 'special,' "Artuz says.

"I'll say whatever I want to say," the teacher responds. "If you don't like it, oh well."

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Later in the video, Artuz says, "When I get out of this school, you won't be calling me 'special' anymore."

"You know what, Jules?" the teacher says. "I will kick your [expletive] from here to kingdom come until I'm 80 years old."

In an interview with NBC News, Artuz said that is teacher "made me feel like trash."

The teacher is currently on paid administration leave pending the investigation, according to NBC News.

In a separate incident in Columbus, Ohio, a lawsuit was filed after a 14-year-old girl's parents hid a recording device in her clothes to record her teacher, along with the teaching aide, ridiculing the girl's weight, intelligence and social status, reported The Associated Press.

"Are you that damn dumb? Are you that dumb?" Kelly Chaffins, the teaching aide, says in the recording. "Oh, my God. You are such a liar. ... You told me you don't know. It's no wonder you don't have friends. No wonder nobody likes you. Because you lie, cheat ... steal."

In another instance, teacher Christie Wilt berates the girl about the results of a test before grading it. "You know what, just keep it," she said. "You failed it. I know it. I don't need your test to grade. You failed it."

The bullying had been going on for several years before the girl's parents decided to record it because school officials had not taken any action. The reportedly have hours of tape.

The lawsuit alleges verbal and emotional abuse, inappropriate comments by the aide and the teacher, a failure by the school to report the abuse, as well as accusing the instructors of putting the girl on a treadmill whenever they were not satisfied with her work.

Despite the growing awareness of bullying, there appears to be a divide among students' and teachers' attitudes towards the age-old practice. According to StopBullying.gov, 70 percent of teachers believe that teachers intervene "almost always" in bullying situations. Only 25 percent of students agree with that assessment.

In addition, 1 out of 4 teachers "see nothing wrong with bullying or putdowns" and only intervene in 1 out of 4 bullying situations.

The difference in perspectives on bullying, combined with a lack of clear policy, leaves open the possibility of teacher-student bullying.

"Statistically about 1 to 2 percent of teachers are actually involved in bullying students," says Dr. Joel Haber, a clinical psychologist who runs the anti-bullying website RespectU, in an interview with Yahoo.com.

"There needs to be a clear policy in schools not just for students bullying other students but for teachers as well. Teachers are humans too and this kind of thing does happen, so it needs to be managed early."

 

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