Who’s Wrong? Viral Video of Student Behind Desk, Fighting Substitute Teacher Gets Mixed Reactions
A substitute teacher and a student are both facing assault charges after a fight that took place earlier this week.
On Monday (Apr. 17) a Rocky Mount High School juvenile student and substitute teacher, identified as Xavaria Steele, came to blows after an argument over the student's confiscated cell phone. According to WRAL, the confrontation "escalated to a physical fight" that was caught on video that has gone viral, sparking debate amongst social media users over who was in the wrong.
In eyes of the law, both the student and the teacher were in the wrong as they have both been charged with simple assault for their brawl.
According to multiple reports, Steele has been with the Nash County Public School System for around a year but the substitute teacher says she has been working in education for over 20 years.
The argument began after the student could be heard saying "That's my phone" after asking the teacher why the rules applied to her and not "everybody else." The teacher is heard telling the student that the rules do "apply to everybody" before the student makes an attempt to grab her phone that had been confiscated.
As the student—who was already behind the desk with the teacher at that point—reached toward the teacher, Steele could be heard saying "Don't touch me" as she attempted to make a phone call. In an instant, blows began to fly between the teacher and the student and a fistfight ensued.
According to school policy, NCPS employees do have the right to "restrain" students and "defend themselves" until they are "free of the threat or attack."
if an employee is attacked by a student, the employee has the right to reasonably restrain the student and defend themselves to the point that they are free of the threat or attack.
The viral video has been the center of debate among social media users—including those with and without kids.
There were many people who sided with the teacher saying the student shouldn't have been behind the desk in the first place.
Others were adamant that regardless of how wrong or disrespectful the student was, the teacher should have been the bigger person in the situation. Some even claimed that the teacher pushed the student first.
Of course, there were a lot of people who felt that two things can be true and that both the student and the substitute teacher were equally out of pocket for their behavior. Then there were those who blamed the parents.
Steele did share her side of the story in a Facebook video that is still available for public viewing.
Steele told her followers that she had never experienced anything like the brawl that has now been seen millions of times on social media.
In all my 22 years, never have I ever experienced what I experienced this Monday. I've never been attacked by young folks. I love young people. This is why I work with them. I have a heart for them. That young lady attacked me and she went for blood.
The substitute teacher also announced that she made the decision to leave the profession after receiving threats saying that as much as she loved the kids she couldn't put her "life or livelihood in danger anymore."
Although she was charged with simple assault (she was released under a written promise to appear in court), Steele feels like she followed protocol after the student "approached her space behind the teacher's desk and initiated contact."
Social media users are still divided as the video continues to rack up views and comments on who was in the wrong.
Regardless of where you stand, this is an unfortunate event and hopefully, we don't see more videos or incidents like this one—especially in places that parents, teachers, and students all consider to be safe spaces for growth and education.
See more of WRAL's ongoing coverage of the incident here via their official website.