Fired teacher: What I did was 'virtuous' - KMSP-TV

Fired teacher: What I did was 'virtuous'

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DETROIT (WJBK) - The Detroit teacher fired after breaking up a classroom fight with a broom is breaking her silence. She spoke one-on-one exclusively to FOX 2's Maurielle Lue.

After cell video of the incident is making its way across the Internet, Tiffany Eaton still says she doesn't regret her actions and calls them "virtuous."

Click on the video player above to watch the interview.

She talks about the teachers in the classrooms nearby and one of the students who was admittedly fighting in the video, who had also referred to Eaton as his "favorite teacher."

The principal at Pershing High School, where Eaton taught, is also speaking out. He says he believes Eaton was "illegally fired" and that he did not, in fact, recommend her termination. He adds, "EAA central administration has had an opportunity to report the truth and correct the misinformation. They have not done so."

Read the full letter from Principal Gregory King below.

A petition has been started on change.org calling for the teacher to get her job back.

WKQI-FM's Mojo in the Morning has also started a GoFundMe account to help the teacher in her time without pay. Click here for donation information.

BELOW IS THE LETTER FROM PRINCIPAL KING

"To the Michigan Education Community:

The termination of a teacher at my school following her efforts to break up a fight has led to a great deal of media attention. As someone with personal knowledge of the situation, I feel I have a duty to clarify a few important facts that have been distorted in the public record. First, Ms. Eaton should never have been fired. Period. I am asking EAA administration to reverse path. Our teachers at Pershing high and at all other schools are called upon to do the impossible every day: counselor, security guard, teacher, and more. They are asked to do so without adequate resources to guarantee even basic bodily safety. Media reports have falsely alleged that I recommended Ms. Eaton's termination. That is not true. EAA central administration has had an opportunity to report the truth and correct the misinformation. They have not done so.
The Michigan citizens and parents of students in the EAA District deserve honesty and transparency from the Authority. They are not getting it. Taxpayers are confronted with the difficult task of evaluating some of the most drastic school reform this state has ever seen. Yet the EAA Chancellor has put a strict gag order on all the District's principals that allows false information to go uncorrected. In cases like this, the policy of secrecy at the EAA erodes public confidence and at the same time damages the reputations of teachers and administrators alike. The public can no longer afford this wall of silence.

"That is why I am writing to correct the record. It is also why I have talked to a DHS Investigator who visited Pershing last Friday and I will continue to work with state authorities to explain that I saw no evidence of corporal punishment. Further I will continue to work within the EAA and with other state agencies to address important issues of public concern: why resources and grants that could help create safer schools are not being allocated to effectively address the problem; why teachers that try to do their best with so little are subject to illegal termination; or why the EAA is unable to provide meaningful security support.

"I intend to tell them:
  1. I believe that the Pershing High teacher was illegally fired. Despite media reports that I recommended the termination, I did no such thing.
  2. She appeared by video to be physically intervening (risking injury to herself) to protect the safety of students, as school policies require of her. The basic investigation procedures usually followed were not undertaken before Ms. Eaton was fired.
  3. Public safety has always been a primary concern for me, my staff and my teachers. I have communicated my safety concerns to central administration on many occasions prior to April 30 of this year. In particular, I have demanded regular safety committee meetings, I have asked to address inadequate security presence, I have requested calibration of walkie-talkies so that administration and security are always within reach of our teachers.
  4. Unfortunately, Ms. Eaton, the teachers, and the administrators at Pershing High have become skilled at making do without security tools. It has been a long time since the right security tools have been available, such as walkie-talkies for all security personnel and working video cameras.
"As I have for more than two decades, I will continue to work hard to help create a better more productive educational environment, despite all challenges. The Pershing High community, students, parents, and alumni deserve no less.

Gregory King, Ed. D.
Pershing High School Principal"


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