A Long Island, New York, high school physical education teacher found himself as the one in hot water after a student disrupted his class in 2016.
According to WCBS-TV, a shouting match erupted between Hewlett High School gym teacher Chris Passuello and an unnamed student when the student refused to put away his phone after repeatedly being asked to do so.
The tense exchange was captured on video by another student, as confrontations these days tend to be, and soon went viral.
Now it has been revealed that both the teacher and the disruptive student were suspended, but the suspected reason for the suspension of the teacher has left many wondering if it was the right call by school officials, who have remained tight-lipped regarding the matter.
“You don’t listen to anyone! I am respectfully asking you to put your phone down! You don’t! I’m respectfully asking you to stop talking! You don’t!” Passuello can be seen in the video shouting at the student. “You just don’t stop!”
The student shouted back, “You don’t need to touch your face on my face! That’s the thing! You don’t have to take my f***ing bubble!”
“You are so tough! You’re tough! This is really intimidating!” Passuelo mockingly yelled at the student, prompting the student, who is black, to refer to the white teacher as a n****r.
“You’re calling me a n****r? Get out of the class!” the teacher erupted, apparently earning himself a suspension for merely repeating the racial slur that had first been lobbed at him.
For what it’s worth, most of the students tought the school district over-reacted by suspending the well-liked teacher, and held a small protest days later demanding he be reinstated, holding signs that read “Free Coach Paz!”
“He is a wonderful, wonderful educator and mentor. And he really – he doesn’t just teach you the curriculum. He teaches you life lessons,” junior Brianna Azimov told WCBS. “And to see a teacher finally do his job and put his foot down and say, ‘Enough is enough, put the phone away or get out,’ and the student to disrespect him in that manner, was absolutely ridiculous.”
Of course, some parents who had watched the video of the incident held a different view, suggesting the teacher should have settled the situation differently and commenting that they would hate for a teacher to talk their own child that way, seemingly ignorant of the fact that if a student is raised to be respectful, there’d be no reason for a teacher to yell at a student in such a manner. That’s something to think about when considering this situation.
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