Punishment

Why would a teacher get slammed onto the ground in the middle of class in front of his students for just taking a cell phone away from a distracted student who would not pay attention? I would like to take this time to analyze the altercation between the teacher and student and how it could have been prevented.

This dispute between the teacher and the student occurred earlier this year in January at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, New Jersey. The video I have provided above shows the sixteen year-old ninth-grader student slamming his sixty-two year-old physics teacher onto the ground in order to get his cell phone back. As you can see in the video and the picture below, the student wrestles with the teacher until he was able to slam him into the ground. The student snatched his cell phone back from the hands of the teacher when he was on top of him.

Some people can argue that the student had the right to get his cell phone back. Now cell phones are actually allowed to be used during classes at John F. Kennedy High School but only for academic purposes, so the people who are arguing that the student had the right to get his cell phone back is dead wrong. Also, teachers are actually allowed to confiscate cell phones, but they have to return them by the end of the day. So why would this student slam his teacher onto the ground when he will actually receive his cell phone back by the end of the school day? Also, this altercation took place at 1 P.M., which is after lunch. The school day was near the end already. That is why I believe that the teacher was actually doing the right thing here. The student is wrong in this case.

Furthermore, throughout the video, the teacher was not defending himself. He did not lay a hand on the student. This shows how much the teacher did not want to lose his job. That is just one of the saddest part of this video. Another thing is that none of the students watching actually jumped in to help stop this dilemma. Maybe the students were just shocked and did not know what to do. Also, this video is evident that shows teenagers now a days think that they can lay hands on each other and teachers too. What a sad group of new generation growing up in America.

This video can be related to power that Michael Foucault mentioned in his articles, “The Body of the Condemned” and “Method”. “According to Foucault, power is not a singular relationship between two entities in which one possesses control over the other, but an interconnected web of power relationships in which every body exercises some level of power” (https://pittfemtheorys12.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/power-sex-and-identity-an-analysis-of-foucault-and-butler/). Foucault is stating that both bodies are givers and receivers. Foucault also stated that situations between two bodies “(the relationship between authority figure and child) are products of the force relations between bodies operating together” In this case, the teacher and the student are both givers and receivers. This is a relationship between an authority figure, the teacher, and a child, the student.

The teacher is teaching and doing his job which is giving him the knowledge he needs to know for education. The student, in return, should have given the teacher his full attention, and he would have received the knowledge that he needed to know for that day. Instead, the teacher did not receive the student’s full attention because the student was not giving the teacher his attention. The student was giving his attention to his cell phone. This led to the teacher taking away the cell phone which escalated to the physical altercation that happened in the video.

If only the student would have been both a giver and a receiver, this physical dispute would not have been intensified. Class would have went smoothly, students would not have been interrupted, and the teacher would not have been slammed onto the ground. The teacher was being both a giver and receiver and the student was not. This could have been prevented if only the student was playing his role as a student.