It is Sunday, but school is in session. Here’s a short pop quiz. The subject area is education. There’s only one question, and it’s multiple choice.
1. If you as a teacher stop an unruly student from entering your classroom by grabbing his shirt and admonishing him to put a lid on it, you:
A. Deserve an award for deft handling of a classroom distraction.
B. Merit a reprimand for not getting out your paddle and handling that little monster the old-fashioned way.
C. Could be charged and convicted of assault and battery, and face the prospect of losing your job, and then being sued for $110,000.
Because I know you devilish readers well, I’m certain a few of you chose ‘B.’
But if you’ve been reading this newspaper lately, you know the correct answer is ‘C.’ Outrageous as it seems, that’s precisely what has happened to Lord Botetourt High School teacher Victor Terry.
Back in November, Terry stopped an overly boisterous teenager as the boy entered Terry’s technology education classroom. Terry grabbed the kid’s shirt or something like that — in a way that caused no injury whatsoever. And he persuaded the student to shut up, although probably with gentler language than that.
A few days later the kid and one of his parents swore out a warrant charging Terry with assault and battery. February 7, a judge convicted Terry in Botetourt Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The penalty was a $50 fine, which the judge suspended.
The problem for Terry was a state law that mandates the removal from the classroom of teachers convicted of assaulting students. In other words, they lose their jobs. While Terry appealed the conviction to Circuit Court, the school system suspended him with pay.
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