A Connecticut teacher is in hot water following the emergence of footage documenting an altercation that took place inside his classroom. According to the Daily Journal, 31-year-old David Pfaff was caught on camera yanking a chair from under a student, forcing him to move. It has been reported that the chair yanking incident occurred during an eight-grade science class at Bailey Middle School in West Haven, Connecticut.
The students were reportedly participating in group activities. However, when it was time to rotate, the unidentified student — who reportedly has behavioral problems — refused to cooperate, according to NBC Connecticut. When the teacher demanded that he move, he reportedly fired back with colorful remarks, spewing inappropriate slurs. During a recent news interview with WTNH, Pfaff recalled the series of events that took place.
“He used very very inappropriate language with me,” Pfaff said. “He told me to get out of here using a four letter word.”
After several moments of arguing with the student, Pfaff decided to take matters into his own hands instead of contacting school administrators. He explained that he resorted to the chair yanking tactic after seeing it at another school while studying to become an educator. He felt it was befitting given the situation he was faced with.
“They would move the chair a little bit or a lot and it depended on the individual and the student would stand up and the teacher would escort the now standing student away from the area, but it didn’t happen that way did it? It did not.
“I looked at him and I looked at the chair. I know you are not supposed to touch a student. You don’t do that,” Pfaff said. “I never meant for that to happen — never.”
Since more than 75 percent of all students have some type of mobile communication device during, school, of course, the chair yanking incident was filmed although investigators refuse to release the footage since it’s part of the investigation.
Once school administrators learned about the footage, it didn’t take long for them to reprimand Pfaff. In a statement sent to WTNH, West Haven Superintendent of Schools, Neil Cavallaro announced the decision to terminate Pfaff.
“As soon as we were notified last week of the incident in question, we immediately contacted the appropriate authorities and terminated the teacher, who was still on the probationary period that all new teachers are on when they are hired in our district. We cannot comment further, as the investigation is ongoing and it is also a personnel matter.”
After the announcement of his termination, Pfaff released a statement of apology for the chair yanking incident. However, he did touch on the challenges of being a new teacher in today’s society. He also voiced his opinion about the training teachers are offered prior to teaching and feels there should be more traning and alternatives when it comes to dealing with unruly students.
“I think more training would be good for teachers. I think teachers already complain on how much training we get but how to handle unruly students in the classroom. It’s becoming a problem.”
Following the chair yanking incident, Pfaff was not arrested, but West Haven Police Sgt. David Tammaro did reveal Pfaf was escorted off campus, reports WFSB. At this point, it is unclear whether charges will be brought against Pfaff, but a criminal investigation has been launched.
Reports about the chair yanking incident come just weeks after the highly publicized assault incident involving former school resource officer, Ben Fields, and a female high school student. The latest incident has sparked yet another debate about the use of excessive force. As expected, the chair yanking incident has received mixed opinions. But, many feel Pfaff’s actions weren’t an example of excessive force.
Do you think David Pfaff should have been fired for the chair yanking incident? Share your thoughts.
[Image via WTSP Screen Capture]