Chicago teacher fired after video shows her going off on student
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A South Side teacher has been fired after an angry confrontation with a student was caught on camera.
The school says Joann Finley was out of line, but she's voicing her side of the story and she's not going down quietly.
Finley says she's been teaching in Chicago Public Schools since the late 90's, but only recently took a job at Winnie Mandela Alternative School. She says since the day she walked in the door, she's been disrespected and even harassed by a small group of students.
And on Tuesday, she lost it.
“You ain't never gonna be sh*t,” she told the student.
It’s the outburst that cost her, her job.
“We're dealing with the really, really bad kids. You know, like this is their last stop. You've been put outta this school, that school, this is your last stop,” Finley said.
Finley has seen and dealt with a lot in her decades of work in the classroom, but nothing like this.
The high school English teacher says her problems on Tuesday began when another teacher asked to bring her class into Finley’s because their room was too cold.
Finley tried to keep the two groups separated, but one student flat out refused to follow those directions.
“It was like 10 minutes of him doing his own thing and saying what he wanted to say, cussing me out, calling me names ugly b*tch, old b*tch, shut the f*ck up, he was saying all of that,” Finley said.
But the cell phone cameras, which were supposed to be confiscated at the beginning of the day, only began rolling on what followed, she says.
“There's a whole lot more to that video and a whole lot more to that school,” Finley said.
Finley says before the incident that she had already gone to administrators twice over the unruly student and nothing was done.
In fact, she noted the smile on the security guard's face when he finally responded.
“I'm just glad the little boy didn't decide to hit me or anything because if I would've defended myself, then what?” she said.
Now that she's had a chance to cool down and reflect on what happened, FOX 32 asked Finley if she would have done anything different. She says she wouldn't have taken the job in the first place and that she should have ignored the student.
“It was on my mind all day yesterday that I should not have even addressed this young man because this is what he does all the time and I've been ignoring him,” Finley said.
In a statement to FOX 32, the school's chief academic officer says in part quote: “What occurred between our substitute teacher, Ms. Joann Finley, and a student in the classroom was a rather unfortunate incident... Unfortunately Ms. Finley is no longer with us, not only due to yesterday's incident but also due to other difficulties when dealing with our student body.”
FOX 32 asked Finley what the school meant with their choice of words at the end of that statement. She says she's always been a teacher known for not tolerating bad behavior.