My God, I’m still shaking after watching this video, of a 116-lb, 15-year-old student being tackled and thrown across tables, chairs and repeatedly slammed to the floor by a hulking, 300 lb teacher for walking into his Brooklyn school without being properly cleared for entry.
A newspaper story and video of George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School shop teacher and security dean Stephan Hudson manhandling freshman Kristoff John, found its way to the front cover and website of the Daily News today, months after the March 6 attack, which left John with a sore back and a reputation as the aggressor in the incident. Indeed, John’s mother, Diane John, was told her son attacked the teacher and that they were doing him a favor by not disciplining him—and she took the word of Hudson and school officials over her son, who insisted he did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve the beating. John later transferred out of the school and, eventually, his mother sent him to his native Grenada to live with relatives.
But when the Daily News showed Diane John the tape, she was absolutely shocked and is now demanding the police and the city’s Department of Education investigate the incident. “They lied to me!” the betrayed mom said tearfully when The News showed her the clip for the first time. “No one wants to see their son taken advantage of and beaten like this.”
She’s absolutely right. And no child should be touched in this way. I could see if he was waving a .44 in the air or a knife or inspiring a massive, Che Guevara-styled insurrection among his fellow students. But really, was it necessary for a 300-lb teacher, and, later, three more overweight security guards, to wipe the lobby floors, tables, chairs and walls with this child’s body? Because he was trying to get to class? I don’t care that he snatched his arm away. I don’t care that he may have gotten flip in the lip. I don’t care that he was late for class and violated standard procedure for checking in. No human being—particularly a child—should be handled in this way. Ever. Particularly by the very people—teachers—whose jobs it is to teach and protect students in their charge.
Of course, this is what happens when you allow schools to treat children like criminals instead of students. How this mentality changes, I’m not sure. But perhaps we can start by laying down the law: under no circumstances is it okay for a massive teacher to tackle a student, or for the school to lie about it when a mother asks questions about what really happened to her child. I sincerely hope teacher Stephan Hudson gets REAL discipline for what he did to Kristoff John, that Diane John can find a little peace in knowing that her child didn’t catch that beatdown in vain, and that, good grief, schools stop it with the police-styled stop-and-frisk antics in their lobbies.
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