You have to wonder sometimes what makes today’s educators tick. That question looms large following the decision of a Bronx, N.Y., teacher to show her eighth-grade class a video of an ISIS beheading.
To the teacher’s small (make that infinitesimally small) credit, the clip blacks out the precise moment when the kneeling victim, a journalist clad in the familiar orange jumpsuit, is executed. It does, however, show the gory aftermath in which the severed head is placed atop the dead man’s chest.
The New York Post reports that Alexiss Nazario, a veteran teacher at the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media, was fined $300 after acknowledging she erred by not previewing the clip or getting the principal’s permission.
Watching the video, which is the stuff of which adult nightmares are made, was traumatic for many of the children. One is quoted as telling investigators, “I’m scared at what I just saw. Ms. Nazario showed a beheading video and I was really scared, I don’t even watch scary videos at home.”
Another said he had trouble sleeping and that the video was “gross” and made him feel “uncomfortable.
Nazario’s dereliction is not limited to her incredibly poor judgment. When parents and school officials got wind of the lesson, she initially tried to scapegoat her students, telling investigators one of them had searched for the video on a computer attached to an overhead projector during a class on Iraq, terrorism, and ISIS.
She later changed her story, telling the Post on Friday:
I was scrolling, looking for a specific video. I clicked on the wrong thing. It was a mistake. It was an error. I freaked out. I had no idea that was playing.
Nazario couldn’t explain why she thought the video was appropriate for 13- and 14-year-olds, though one is quoted as having recalled her saying, “This is what’s going on in the real world.”
Department of Education officials tried to terminate her, but an arbitrator argued that her 26 years of unblemished service merited a lighter penalty.
Nazario has been reassigned and now works as a roving substitute at different schools. That thought should send a chill up the spine of parents of children in the New York City school system.
Where’s zero tolerance when you really need it?