Video of boy stuck in chair prompts investigation

A Michigan elementary school teacher is fighting efforts to fire her for shooting cellphone video of a student who got stuck trying to squeeze through the back of his chair and allegedly replaying the footage later for her class.
AP Wire
Feb 28, 2014

In a 54-second clip of the November 2013 video taken in Nicole McVey's fifth-grade classroom at Oaktree Elementary School in Goodrich, a woman can be heard asking the trapped student, "How did you get into that situation?" When the woman tells the boy that a maintenance crew is on its way to help free him, a man can be heard saying, "It's not really an emergency in their book."

The video was shown to the class on three occasions, said Patrick Greenfelder, a lawyer for the boy's mother.

"For some sick humor, I guess," Greenfelder told The Associated Press on Thursday. "There could be no other purpose. ... It was just for yuks, I guess."

Greenfelder said the 10-year-old boy suffered broken blood vessels in his eyes while trying to escape from the chair and added that the family hasn't decided whether to sue.

McVey is on paid administrative leave. No one answered repeated calls Thursday to a number listed for McVey. Her lawyer, William Young, also did not respond to several messages seeking comment.

The school's principal at the time, Michael Ellis, resigned. The AP also left messages at home numbers listed under the name Michael Ellis. Phone and email messages were left Thursday evening seeking comment from the Michigan Education Association teachers' union.

The video came to light after a staff member responsible for reporting bullying got ahold of it and informed administrators, said Greenfelder.

It later was shown to the boy's parents.

School District Superintendent Scott Bogner offered McVey and Ellis the chance to resign or be fired, and Ellis resigned but McVey opted to fight it through the tenure process, Greenfelder said.

The school board voted 5-1 in January to fire McVey. Some students, parents and fellow teachers spoke out at the contentious meeting in support of McVey and criticized board members for voting to fire her, which Greenfelder said was the reason he and his clients decided to release the video.

"The board members couldn't discuss anything related to the case, so we decided, 'We'll get this thing out there and maybe these people will understand more about this,'" Greenfelder said.

In a statement, Bogner said the district can't discuss the case due to confidentiality laws.

"In the event that the behaviors are clearly not in keeping with the policies of the district, raise concerns about professional judgment or concerns regarding activities associated with the children in a particular classroom, then and only then would a board engage in a decision to file tenure charges," the superintendent wrote.

 

Comments

deuce liti

Oh public education, is there no depth to the iniquities of your sober reflection of american society?

If our taxes funded health care like our education would it be this bad?

Wolverine49457

It was a dumb and insensitive thing to do, if her kid were stuck in a chair and the babysitter recorded it rather than do something she would not be smirking and blowing it off.

Wolverine49457

It was a dumb and insensitive thing to do, if her kid were stuck in a chair and the babysitter recorded it rather than do something she would not be smirking and blowing it off.

LessThanAmused

There is just a ton of bad decision making going on these days.

You'd think a teacher would be smart enough to be above such juvenile behavior, but I guess there are exceptions to every rule. How are "educators" like this woman going to educate the next generation to be better human beings?

All I got now is another Gump quote (love that movie)....Stupid is as stupid does...

deuce liti

Remember public school teachers are paid by our taxes so they're not that good, right? It's the same reason why people don't want doctor's paid by our taxes.

We really need to get rid of all teachers and have only private school.

skyking007

I would wonder if this was an teaching moment showing other children the danger of sticking your head in a chair?

horst

Skyking, you're barking up the right tree. I know I’m setting myself up to get strung-up verbally by all these education experts on this forum but here goes.
I have discussed this situation with three teachers who I am personally related, with over 67 years of experience, (one in special education) and they all stated that the teacher used poor judgment in showing the tape to other students or staff. It should have been shown only to the parents and counseling staff associated with that child.
We love how the article runs along with its "WITCH HUNT" tone; “this poor little student was victimized by this big, bad, mean, teacher.” Nothing is mentioned about the fact that this is an autistic student who has a history of doing and creating situations like this in McVey's classroom or that McVey has a review history of being "Highly Qualified", the highest rating a teacher can get. Unfortunately, for this teacher the old 80/20 ratio usually applies in these situation. They spend 80% of their time dealing with students like this to the detriment of the other 20 some kids in the classroom but then the public expects results from this teacher for the other 20 some kids. I've lived it for 20+ years. As un-PC as this statement is,” There is always going to be stupid people among us (autistic or not). We can't educate everyone.” Europe and Asia don't do it and they’re killing us educationally. Students in these geographic areas are put into peer groups at an early age and placed vocationally on a path that leverages their talents (or lack thereof). The U.S. approach is educate everyone equally and together where teachers are forced to teach to a test and dumb things down so low achieving students, that get their heads stuck in chairs, can be integrated into a normal classroom. Our world ranking is showing how great this approach is working

McVey, bad judgment: "YES"
Knowing this students history as an extreme distraction in her classroom, punishable by losing her job: HELL NO!

Barry Soetoro

Fortunately for all of us the expertise on these pages isn't just limited to education.

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.