Almanac

Schools - May 4, 2011

Selby Lane teacher takes medical leave after tirade

by Renee Batti

A Selby Lane School math teacher whose angry tirade and aggressive actions prompted a student to leave the classroom and call Atherton police for help has been granted medical leave to get counseling, and has apologized to parents.

In an April 26 letter to parents, teacher John Haynes said his frustration over the lack of student progress led him to shout, berate students, use profanity, knock over a desk, and threaten to throw things in his eighth-grade classroom on March 1.

He apologized to parents, saying that with his actions that day, he had failed to "provide proper guidance and to promote respect and fairness."

He also apologized to his students, writing: "I truly care about your future success, and do not want my actions to hinder your growth. I apologize that these actions worried some of you and caused you to feel unsafe."

Mr. Haynes wrote that he had requested, and been granted, a medical leave for the rest of the school year "so that I can work with a trained professional to learn more appropriate ways of channeling my frustration when students are not meeting the high standards I set for them."

District officials have agreed to reassign Mr. Haynes to a different school in the next school year, "where I can have a fresh start," he wrote.

Police responded to the school at about 2:30 p.m. on the day of the incident after a 13-year-old girl called 911 from a bathroom, reporting that her teacher "was going crazy and throwing tables," according to police Lt. Joe Wade. When officers arrived in the classroom, they found class in session and a calm environment, Lt. Wade said.

Mr. Haynes was put on administrative leave while district staff investigated the incident.

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