A Brooklyn teacher has been fined $10,000 by New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) for encouraging a student to hit back his bully. The DOE initially wanted to fire 13-year veteran teacher Tamu Francis from her job at PS 191 last year after she allegedly made an 8-year-old bully stand up in front of her third-grade class so his latest victim could “hit him back.”
According to DOE documents, the bully cried and Francis told him, “Well, that’s what you get.”
Francis allegedly found the two third-graders on the floor throwing punches. When she pulled them apart, she encouraged the victim to hit back, students at the Brownsville school said.
The arbitrator at her termination hearing, Lisa Brogan, said Francis was also heard saying, “When you act like a dog, you get treated like a dog.”
Francis denied all allegations. She said all she did was teach the class a lesson by asking the bully, “How would you like it if [he] hit you back?”
She said the other boy immediately threw a jab at the bully’s gut, misunderstanding her point.
Brogan said she did not believe her claim. Furthermore, Francis failed to report the incident to school officials.
“The behavior is extremely disturbing … At best, it was a horribly misguided attempt to teach a lesson about bullying,” wrote Brogan. “She exhibited extremely poor judgment and made an enormous blunder by trying to mete out a certain brand of justice for the class bully.”
Francis has an otherwise impeccable record over her 13 years as a teacher. She was given a $10,000 fine rather than being fired. School principal, Elsi Capolongo, moved Francis to another classroom.
Brogan said the principal is not concerned with a repeat of the incident, admitting that “by all accounts, [the instigator] was a bully and had behavior issues.”