High school student poisons teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by porque_pig, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Apr 8, 2011

    A high school student in NC put "hand cleanser" (I interpreted this as "hand sanitizer," but I'm not sure) in his teacher's soft drink. She became ill and was taken to a nearby hospital where she received treatment. The student was arrested, and the school has yet to determine what his punishment will be from the school standpoint.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/04/08/1115662/police-school-seek-cause-of-raleigh.html

    What do you all think of this? Are schools a dangerous place, or are schools generally safe with the occasional senseless action on the part of a single thoughtless person? Do YOU take any precautions as a teacher to protect yourself at school?

    This story was interesting to me since I'm looking for a high school teaching job for next year. This story doesn't deter me from continuing to search for a job, but it does get me thinking about workplace safety. Thoughts?
     
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  3. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    I think schools are generally a safe place but there are some people out there who can be dangerous, and illogical that can make it unsafe.

    The university I attend made a real big deal during Freshman orientation about open drinks out and unattended (with relation to being drugged) so I just always am cautious about that one.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    We had a student get in a lot of trouble for putting staples in the teacher's drink. Luckily she noticed them before she swallowed one.

    He was a 7th grader. The younger kids do things like that sometimes thinking it is funny. Usually they put non-poisonous things. I recently had a talk with a group of students because they were putting things in other people's food/drink when they weren't looking. We talked about how even i it wasn't something poisonous, that it could be dangerous. I talked to them about my allergies and how things that don't bother other people could be very dangerous for me.
     
  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    1) I think the school's punishment should be the least of his worries. The DA should likely charge him with attempted murder (depending on state statutes).

    2) I don't think schools are generally more dangerous than other workplaces, but kids do tend to lack some inhibitions at times. It would be very smart to be careful about open drinks.
     
  6. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    Personally, I'm intending to take a major safety precaution when I start teaching; I'm only going to work good districts or good privates.

    It would be totally depressing if every day someone had to pat down the students and I was expected to wear a bullet proof vest and have glock locked in one of my desk drawers.

    Yah, while I like adventure I'll just save that for the weekends.
     
  7. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Where in the heck is that happening? That seems like a ridiculously out there statement.
     
  8. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    Apr 8, 2011

  9. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    Also, I think I deserve an apology:confused::eek::rolleyes:

    Just joking, but I'm glad have been granted linking powers.
     
  10. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    That link you posted is crazy. I student taught, completed my clinicals, and volunteer every saturday in CPS (Chicago Public Schools) and I always feel safe. Even though we're titled a dangerous city and most of the crime goes unreported. Two of the Chicago neighborhoods were actually titled as two of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country.

    I think wearing a bullet proof vest and having a gun in your desk is just making the situation worse.
     
  11. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    I totally agree, but I'm not the one debating it or participating in the debate. However, it is in fact being debated all across the country even in my state.

    Again, my solution is just to pick a good school.
     
  12. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    I don't think it matters. Bad things can also happen in good schools. I would say that the school I went to was a good school and things happened. There were bomb threats, fires started in the bathrooms, one student stabbed another student in the back- just missing his spine. It doesn't mean that the school was a bad school…. it means you never know if something could happen.
     
  13. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    :agreed:

    Good is a very relative way to describe something. I think schools are generally safe but there will always be some who try to do things to make it unsafe.

    Plus, in this job market getting a job in a "good" school as a fresh, first year teacher may be more difficult than expected.
     
  14. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Yeah.....GOOD LUCK with THAT philosophy! :lol:
     
  15. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Yeah, I figure I'm not going to be poor; I'll just pick jobs that pay over $200,000.:D
     
  16. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    While working in a middle school a few years ago, we had a student put 409 cleaner in the math teacher's coffee. She was a good friend and taught next to me (there were only 6 teachers in the school building). It was just one in a string of very disturbing incidences. Luckily a student tipped her off before she drank it. Nothing happened to the students-the principal claimed he couldn't prove any of the students did it.
     
  17. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think the idea of teachers carrying weapons is so ridiculous it's almost funny - as if teachers would protect themselves by drawing a weapon on a student? Returning fire in the case of school shootings? Interestingly, school violence largely happens in middle or upper class, predominantly white schools. So, even the concept of teachers in "rougher" schools carrying firearms doesn't make sense.
     
  18. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 9, 2011

    It's sad that there are devious kids like that, but from time to time, you hear about these kinds of incidents. I've been raised not to trust people for the most part, so I wouldn't leave my drink unattended or even turn my back on it as it is. If I'm drinking something in a room of kids, which is rare anyway, it's covered & put on a high, back shelf or area where no one can slip something in quickly.

    I feel safe at the schools I work at. I currently go to 4 every wk. But, last wk, someone broke into someone's car during school hrs in the school parking lot (which isn't big at all) & I was there the day after it happened, thank God.
     
  19. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    eek! This is making me paranoid as I always have a pop in the morning. Guess I shouldn't turn my back lol

    On a serious note, this student should be charged with attempted murder and suspended from school. If I were the teacher I might even file a restraining order on him. Hate to say it but nowadays, you have to go to extremes in order to set boundaries.
     
  20. dogs&teaching

    dogs&teaching Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2011

    When I was in high school, I took a small engines class. We each had partners for the entire class who we would work on our engine with. My partner happened to be a bit of a troublemaker from what I had heard. Well, he was. He absolutely hated the student teacher. The small engines teacher happened to have a microwave in his class room over where we had to line up at his work station so he could check our progress. One day, my partner put a lighter in the microwave and turned it on. Luckily, the student teacher happened to see sparks in the microwave and pulled the plug. The kid got suspended for a quarter, and I was left without a partner. I ended up getting to know the kid a little bit later in high school as we shared more classes. He was a very, very crazy kid. I am sooooooo glad that I do not have to see him because he really scared me.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I work in one of those "safe private schools."

    The funny thing is, Columbine high school was once considered "safe." So was Deer Creek High School. So was UVA. All until one incident that changed that perception for the world community. But I bet, though they're scarred forever, the communities surrounding those schools still consider them as "safe" as a school could reasonably be.

    I think it's naive to think that the kind of school in which you work could keep you safe from a kid on a vendetta. That same kid who passed the metal screening could still push you down a flight of stairs, bullet proof vest or not.

    Geography doesn't always determine which schools are safe; neither does a parent's ability to pay tuition.

    I've taught a number of kids who are or were or would be in jail. The most recent committed suicide last year after being convicted of murder. Another was convicted years ago of driving the getaway car after his buddy beat somoene to death with a baseball bat after a robbery. Yep, good Catholic school kids in a great school (read my posts--all of them if you want-- my school is a phenomenal place.)

    I think a reasonable amount of awareness is critical in a job like ours, and everywhere else in today's world. But I refuse to live my life in a plastic bubble, afraid of what could happen or might happen. So, yeah, I lock my car in the mall and have my keys in hand before I step into the parking lot. But I refuse to stop shopping, or to stop shopping alone or after dark, simply because of what might happen.

    I don't teach in my school because I'm afraid of the big bad world out there; I teach in my school because it's absolutely the right place for me.
     
  22. mdawson

    mdawson Rookie

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    I had a student throw a chair at me this week. Does that mean I teach in a bad school...NO WAY! My own kids attend the school I work in and it is an incredible school. It is not without it's share of problems, but the good far outweighs any bad.

    I also worked in a private day school for kids with emotional/behavioral disorders. I have been hit, pushed, stolen from, and threatened. During my time there I had two students bring knives to school and yes we searched our kids on a regular basis. The police were called to the school at least once a week. I loved this job! I loved working with these kids and trying to be the one person in their lives who cared about their education. I left due to the lack of support from the principal, but I think about those kids everyday.

    My point is that limiting yourself to what you would call "good" schools may not help you reach your full potential as an educator.
     
  23. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I agree that nowhere can be considered classified "safe". Columbine jumped into my head too-a nice suburban school. My school is in what's considered a "bad" area but we've never had any violent incidents since I've been there (however it is elementary too).

    I am just naturally paranoid about never leaving a drink unattended. I drink a lot of water and I bring my own plastic bottles. If I leave one overnight, I will pour it out the next day. I really don't believe anyone did anything to it but it's habit.

    Schools here won't have fire drills during lunch because they are afraid the older kids will put drugs in others' food, etc. There are just precautions to take, like Alice said-it doesn't mean something will happen, just better safe than sorry.
     
  24. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I work at a great school in a bad neighborhood. I don't think it matters where you end up - there's always the potential for something to happen.

    Students are not allowed to bring in home-baked goods (and teachers can't bring them in for students, either). There was an Ex-lax incident a few years ago. Weapons and drugs have been found on campus a few times.

    I worked at another "good" school a few years ago, in an excellent neighborhood. One of my former students is in prison for murder.

    Even in the best of circumstances, terrible things can happen from an outsider - like the Amish schoolhouse shooting.
     
  25. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    I apologize but I have never been a fan of your logic--I mean really, I studied probability extensively.

    The school you described is not a good school in my opinion. I have nephews for one and nothing like that has ever happened in their school. I went to high school and nothing like that happened in my school. I can interview all my college friends, including those who teach, and I am pretty much sure nothing you describe has occurred.

    While bad things can also happen at good schools, the issue is not what is possible but what is probable. I'm sure it is possible my town is hit by a massive tornado, I'm sure it is possible a swarm of locusts can hit my town, I'm sure it is possible for the sky to rain blood.

    While all of that is possible, it is not even close to probable.

    I always wonder about people with strange logic.
     
  26. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    That may or may not be true, but the point is to put myself in the safest and most desirous position possible.

    I'm pretty sure there is a significant difference in crime rate between Beverly Hills High and any school in the heart of LA. I'd rather take my chances at Beverly Hills High.

    And if there is not work for me in this country, I can always go to another country.
     
  27. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    What's wrong with the philosophy? Is there some rule I'm bound to whatever school is the worst on the planet? Is there some supernatural force drawing all teachers to Camden, New Jersey of which they must obey?


    Sorry buddy if the best you could do is a bad school, but that is you. It certainly is not me.
     
  28. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    Um, actually I was earning about that before I left Finance. Is it a new trend people do not believe in studying, hard work, and good networks? I and many of my friends growing up said the above. In fact, very openly.

    Do you not have friends who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen? Pretty much all those professions earn close to that or even more than that.

    I don't get your point, other than to feel sad for you that you have never met anyone who earns an upper-middles class income. That speaks more about you than me.
     
  29. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    Ultimately, the responses are some strange logic of, "Good schools have bad kids." Sure, that is probably true. However it is probably even more true that, "Bad schools have a helk of a lot of more bad kids."

    In regards to the comment of fear of the big bad world...seriously my issue is not so much safety but more so who deserves and will appreciate my teaching. I'm not going to drag some disrespectful kid through my teaching or babysit kids until the prison system can babysit them for the majority of their adult life. Also, I can promise that poster I have been in a helk of a lot more dangerous situations than he will ever be in his entire life...but hey we all can sound tough on the internet.

    I would much rather work with kids with aspiration and who can be at some point the future leaders of America. That is the kind of environment I grew up in, that is the kind of environment my nephews are in, and that is the kind of environment I want for teaching.

    I really do not know where you guys live, but really I currently live in a pretty nice and safe area.

    Once again, if I cannot find work where I want then I can always go to another country. I'm not certain why people make life harder than it is.
     
  30. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    MathJourney - definitely some interesting responses. A few thoughts to consider for you:

    1. I respect that you know where you want to teacher. There's nothing wrong with being upfront about the conditions you are seeking out.

    2. Do a cursory search of school violence incidents where there were school shootings - not guns brought to school, but actual school shootings. See what the demograhics are. That may help you in understanding Chrissteeena's probability logic. You're right - there will be many smaller behavioral incidents in "rough" schools, but the serious incidents can happen anywhere. It's actually faulty research to assume that most school violence happens in what are traditionally considered "rough" schools.

    3. Your assumption that you would be less valued in a low-income school may or may not be true. I've primarily worked in elementary schools, and have found kids in very impoverished areas to be significantly more grateful and in need of my services than kids from wealthier schools. I'd be interested to hear comments from those who teach on a high school level. However, I'd also point out that expressed appreciation is not the same as actual appreciation, or actual benefit. You may never know your impact, regardless of the school you teach at.

    4.
    I'm guessing you were referring back to a previous comment? Having worked in high poverty schools in high crime neighborhoods, I can tell you that I most certainly don't consider my role to be babysitting kids until the prisons can take them. Even if many do end up going that route, I'm not a passive observer waiting for it to happen.

    5.
    I'm curious if you think all teachers who end up in "bad" schools don't have any other choice? I, for one, prefer struggling schools with struggling students, because I find that I can have a greater impact on the system as a whole.

    Overall, I respect that you have identified where you want to work, and am sorry that people have given you a hard time. More teachers should be as open and honest. However, I do question a few of the assumptions you've made about the impact you could make in different environments, and the logic some posters have shown related to school violence.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We agree: it's easy to sound tough on the internet.

    I think I'm the "he" to whom you refer. Can you tell me how you can promise ANYTHING about my background? Sure, I claim to be a suburban mom of three-- but as you mention, it's possible to be anything you want online. For all you know, I'm a retired Navy SEAL or part of the witness protection program.

    And I, too, claim to have both studied and taught both probability and logic. And I know that the events of the past tend to be independent of the events of the future. So, for example, if a fair coin has been tossed 99 times and come up Heads every single time, the probability of getting Heads on the next toss is still 50%. And while I haven't had to break up a fight in a good 20 years, that's no guarantee that I won't have to break one up on Tuesday. Predictability is incredibly difficult in a structure as fluid as a school; each year my school gets 800 new students. All it would take is one with an axe to grind, and my incredibly wonderful school could make national headlines.

    As Cerek mentioned, you seem to know what you want. I hope you find it, and that it's all you hope for, for both you and your future students.
     
  32. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    So why do you want to be a teacher? Do you still want to be a teacher if you can't get a job in a 'good' school?

    Your logic and your way of thinking isn't exactly perfect either so you shouldn't been posting comments on here like you're all high and mighty. You're attacking others for no apparent reason.
     
  33. Sheila

    Sheila Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2011

    Have you ever taught?
     
  34. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I find this comment incredibly insulting and offensive, as well as terribly misinformed. That's probably all I should say about the matter.

    Good luck to you. I hope you find the job you're looking for, and I hope you do well enough to stick around there.
     
  35. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Apr 9, 2011

    Since EdEd and a few others have made all of my points and I do not want to make personal attacks, I will only say... I love the school I work at. I know that some of the students who pass through my room will not be all that I hope for them to be, but I will fight for them while I have them.
     
  36. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Apr 10, 2011

    :agreed:
     
  37. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree completely. I can't control what happens once students leave my classroom--for the day, for the summer, or when they go off to high school. I can ensure that they know that I believe that the sky is the limit for them and I know that they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to.
     
  38. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    May 7, 2011

    This reminds me of an exchange between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor.

    Astor said “'Mr. Churchill, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea!" and the great man replied "And if you were my wife, I would drink it!”
     

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