News

Teacher on medical leave after tirade

A Selby Lane School math teacher whose angry tirade and aggressive actions prompted a student to leave his classroom and call Atherton police for help has been granted medical leave to get counseling, and has apologized to parents.

In an April 26 letter to parents, teacher John Haynes said his frustration over the lack of student progress led him to shout, berate students, use profanity, knock over a desk, and threaten to throw things in his eighth-grade classroom on March 1.

He apologized to parents, saying that with his actions that day, he had failed to "provide proper guidance and to promote respect and fairness."

He also apologized to his students, writing: "I truly care about your future success, and do not want my actions to hinder your growth. I apologize that these actions worried some of you and caused you to feel unsafe."

Mr. Haynes wrote that he had requested, and been granted, a medical leave for the rest of the school year "so that I can work with a trained professional to learn more appropriate ways of channeling my frustration when students are not meeting the high standards I set for them."

District officials have agreed to reassign Mr. Haynes to a different school in the next school year, "where I can have a fresh start," he wrote.

Police responded to the school at about 2:30 p.m. on the day of the incident after a 13-year-old girl called 911 from a bathroom, reporting that her teacher "was going crazy and throwing tables," according to police Lt. Joe Wade. When officers arrived in the classroom, they found class in session and a calm environment, Lt. Wade said.

Mr. Haynes was put on administrative leave while district staff investigated the incident.

Comments

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Posted by jackrabbit
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Apr 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Tenure -- it's great isn't it? Any tirade such as exhibited by this teacher in any other setting (e.g., corporate, in public. etc.) probably would have lead to an arrest; certainly a firing in a business situation. This incident is inexcusable and just another reason why the Teachers' Union is out of touch with reality. More money is not what is needed but teachers (and a union) that is held accountable for its actions or lack thereof.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by disgusted
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Are you freaking kidding me? An adult throws a monumental tantrum and gets to keep their job as a teacher? What other school gets the privelege of this lunatic? If this isn't grounds for terminaton, what is? Give us a break!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Know the feeling
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm

This sounds like everybody is making the best of an unfortunate situation. I've felt that frustration with my own kids- that sense must be magnified for a teacher feeling responsible for the advancement of an entire class. I hope Mr. Haynes finds useful tools to minimize his frustration and channel his passion. Best of luck and I hope he finds forgiveness and support along the way to his fresh start. So many promising young teachers give up hope. Good for him for improving himself and getting back in the classroom to make a positive impact.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm

My first comment is directed to Mr. Haynes. Sir, I raised two children both of whom are now out on their own and doing well. I was blessed and am grateful that both children encountered teachers, JUST LIKE YOU, who cared so deeply about their success that they (the teacher) became emotionally involved. My daughter in particular benefited greatly from her debate teacher in high school-to this day I credit him with having more to do with forming the wonderful adult my daughter is today than anything I contributed. Sure, you probably "lost it" that day in the class room, but please don't ever lose the passion that brought you to that point. In my view, we need more just like you. My second comment is to the previous posters--typical spoil your kids, over protective, reaction. You should count your blessings to have a teacher who cares more about the success of your kids than you obviously do. Sometimes, tough love is the best love.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm

This never should've been made public. I used to have a teacher (expensive private school) who *threw* erasers & staplers at students. I never thought to go to the media w/the story - no point, not matter how stupid his behavior.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ethan
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Apr 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm

If he were a CEO, they'd call it an "aggressive management style" and give him another 100,000 stock options.


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