Arizona School Doubles Down On Horrible By Turning A Blind Eye To Racist Bullying And Firing Only Teacher Who Helped

teacher-fired-for-standing-up-for-bullied-studentWhen I hear of a child who gets bullied at school while administrators turn a blind eye, my blood starts to boil. There should be zero tolerance for bullying, and when it is racially motivated, there should be immediate repercussions. Turning a blind eye to racist bullying is basically teaching students that hate crimes are okay. Firing a teacher for standing up for a tormented student is ridiculous – but it’s exactly what happened at one Arizona school.

Malachi Gillis says he was daily subjected to racist taunts at his Arizona elementary school. He claims his reports of the bullying fell on deaf ears — and the problem continued to escalate to the point of violence, when his bullies surrounded him on a playground and began throwing rocks.  A teacher stepped in to protect him and was fired for being threatening towards the bullies.  Here’s what she allegedly said, from KPHO:

[Malachi] is in my room now, he is not alone. When you pick on him you pick on me. It’s not five to one any more, its five to two.

There will be no more taunting, teasing or racial names called, that is not acceptable any more. Do you understand?

The teacher, Pam Aister, was acutely aware of what Malachi had been going through with these bullies in his school, because he was transferred from a previous class to get away from them. A statement from a hearing about the incident reports that the students called Malachi racial slurs. If that isn’t disgusting enough, the statement in the appeal alleges that his former teacher joined in on the taunts, responding to Malachi’s pleas for more help with his math homework by saying that his mother should “make more money and hire a tutor.” I think the wrong teacher was fired.

The altercation happened on May 8, 2014. On May 9, 2014, this happened:

Mrs. Aister was given no information about the accusations against her. Her classroom key was relinquished, her purse was retrieved from her classroom, she was escorted out the door and forbidden any contact with other staff members or students. She was suspended for the last two weeks of school. She was denied access to materials to complete her students’ 4th quarter report cards. Report cards were sent home without a finished set of grades, no teacher note or signature, or a mark showing that the student had passed to the next grade.

Mrs. Aister had been a teacher at the school for 25 years. Malachi’s mother has transferred him to another school.

What kind of message is this sending the students and other teachers? Bullying is okay? Racism is okay? I imagine other teachers won’t be too keen on stepping in to help a student in the future. Those students deserved way worse than they got. Is it Friday yet? I need to shut off this computer.

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