Stories of teachers who have snapped under pressure, stress, or just due to terrible students are not a rare tale in the news (and in the academic world). Almost everyone who has graduated high school has at least one such story of a teacher reacting in an insane way. However, the actions of a physical education teacher in Los Angeles set an absurd new low for teachers acting poorly in front of their students.
The P.E. teacher at Carthay Center Elementary School in Los Angeles stripped naked during a Physical Education class on Friday, then proceeded to chase the nearby second and fifth-grade students while wearing literally nothing. Thankfully, the children were able to outrun the deranged teacher and managed to seek refuge in other classrooms.
According to a parent who sent their child to Carthay Center Elementary School, the male teacher “was supposed to be helping them learn P.E., run around and have fun.” However, for whatever reason, he “undressed and started chasing the kids while he was naked, and then the kids ducked and dodged, ran into some of the classrooms and got safe haven that way.”
There is even video evidence of the strange occurrence, filmed by a construction worker who passed by and realized that something was obviously very wrong when the teacher was getting naked. The video also showed the P.E. teacher putting his pants back on in the middle of the playground.
The school responded by calling for law enforcement to come and do something about their teacher, and officers did come and apprehend the teacher. However, during the incident, and after the children escaped from the naked Physical Education teacher, the school did go into a temporary lockdown due to the teacher, but that was lifted when law enforcement escorted the teacher from the school grounds.
Parents were informed by robocall about the actions of the teacher, and the school did also send home a letter informing the parents what their children had endured at school on Friday. The school also took the step of making mental health services available to the children, in the event that they were emotionally or mentally scarred by the experience of being chased around (or seeing their classmates chased around) by a nude Physical Education teacher.
The letter from the school was sparing in its details, stating simply that “an individual began behaving in an unusual way, prompting us to contact law enforcement.” It also stated that “as a safety precaution, our school went on a brief lock-down while officers responded and took the individual into custody.”
Los Angeles Unified School District employees have said that they are not allowed to comment on the matter, or on ongoing situations, and have simply stated that the teacher was, in fact, a certified teacher, and was contracted with the school, as well as being approved to interact with children and be on school grounds.
Hopefully, that does not remain the case for much longer, as the P.E. teacher did expose himself to schoolchildren and chase them around while nude. It is hard to conceive of ANY situation in which such actions would be appropriate, let alone while teaching P.E. to children.
However, there is another problem with this story: the teacher’s unions, and what they will do to make sure that they have a member working and paying those union dues. Teacher’s unions across the country do their best to protect teachers, even mediocre teachers or teachers who have acted poorly, from being held responsible for their actions, even going so far as to protect teachers who have been accused of misbehavior with students. Because of this, it must be wondered whether the teacher involved in this strange episode, who has yet to be publicly named, will be fired, or whether they will simply have to go to a handful of classes concerning their misbehavior and will then be moved to a different school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Students deserve better, and schools should not give people caught on tape exposing themselves to students long (and often paid) leaves of absence while running an investigation. It cannot be that difficult to replace a P.E. teacher, and it cannot be worth that much to the school district to continue to keep on staff a man who would behave in such a way.