Via the Edwonks (see blogroll at left) comes this story of a teacher who was fired for biting a student. Go read that short news report and then come back to this post.
No, go read the news story first! Can't you follow directions???
I will not defend the teacher's actions here. However, I will state categorically that the student definitely contributed to the problem. I'd assess fault here at 98% teacher and 2% student. Why do I fault the teacher so much? She bit a student! Who the heck does that?!
The catalyst for the problem, however, was that the student did not follow the teacher's instructions. She told the boy to go stand in the hall, and he took it upon himself to return to the class because, apparently, he wanted to get his books. I'll be honest, here, I'm not buying it. I assert, without any fact at all but lots of experience in this type of situation, that the boy returned to class because he wanted to garner a little more attention, either from the teacher or from his classmates. He wanted to show that he was cool or tough enough to violate her instructions. He was trying to be a punk, and he totally succeeded. It's oh so common in junior high. I've taught kids like him.
However, the teacher should not have gotten physical with the student. Perhaps I'm fortunate to always have worked at schools where the administration at least most of the time backed up and supported the teachers in discipline issues. They may not always have done what I would have liked in a given situation, but I never felt like students could run roughshod over me--knowing I would resist the urge to beat the snot out of him or her, even if he or she desperately needed it--and not suffer some consequences. I truly do pity teachers who labor under such circumstances, and I know they're out there.
But I hope that those teachers would never try to justify or excuse biting a student.