GRAPHIC LANGUAGE WARNING: A Baltimore City school teacher uses the N-word in class.
The mother who posted a video of a white Baltimore teacher berating a class of black students and using a racial epithet said she regrets that the meltdown led to the teacher being fired.
Erica Esha Deminds, mother of a Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School eighth-grader who was in the science class, posted the video Wednesday. It quickly went viral and has been viewed more than 7 million times.
"You take this woman's whole life and judge it by 1 minute and 30 seconds," said Deminds, who described the teacher as "a woman who wanted to teach these kids because she's passionate about her job."
In the video, the teacher is heard yelling at her students and calling them "stupid" and "idiots." She tells them that if they don't get an education, they'll wind up "a punk-ass n— — who's going to get shot." School officials said the incident took place Tuesday and the teacher was fired the next day.
The video has drawn wide reaction on social media, with some outraged by the teacher's behavior and others suggesting that she may have been overwhelmed.
Deminds said the teacher, who has not been publicly identified, was wrong to use such language. But she said she doesn't believe the teacher is racist. Deminds said she posted the video to get reaction from her relatives but did not realize it would be widely disseminated
"It bothered me to see her that way, but she's not a nasty teacher," Deminds said. "She was more so hurt than anything because she couldn't get the kids to learn, and she couldn't get them to listen."
She also said she thinks the teacher is being treated unfairly because she is white. She said she doesn't consider use of the epithet appropriate, but says there's a double standard.
"If this was a black man doing it, it would have been a high five," she said. "Her message was right — her approach was wrong."
City school officials took swift action to fire the teacher after learning of the incident Wednesday. City schools CEO Sonja Santelises said no matter the circumstances, the teacher crossed the line.
"The focus of our reaction was really about the way that teacher went about it, and the way that young people were treated and addressed," Santelises said in a news conference Thursday.
She also rejected the notion that the outburst reflected a lack of teacher support and training.
"There are many people who struggle with classroom management, but they don't resort to hate language," Santelises said. "We can't provide enough support to counteract what's in someone's heart."
The Baltimore Teachers Union reiterated Friday that it stood behind the school district's decision to fire the teacher.
Deminds said that her son was one of at least two students sent out of the class for misbehaving and that she was embarrassed that he contributed to the chaos in the classroom. When he got home and told her what happened, Deminds said she didn't ask him about what the teacher said, but "what did you do?"
The one-minute video shows the teacher grabbing a male student by the hood of his jacket as she yells at him to leave her class. She then turns to the rest of the class and screams, "Who else needs to freaking leave?"
She goes on to make the racially incendiary comments.
Deminds said she thinks the teacher should have been suspended or counseled instead — and given a second chance.
"Now, she's at home picking up the pieces of her life," Deminds said. "She loses her career, the kids lost their teacher. Nobody wins in this situation."