DeKalb County

Middle school teacher put on leave after video shows him choking student in class

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County middle school teacher has been put on leave after video showed him choking a student in the middle of class.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was at Salem Middle School where the incident unfolded. Channel 2 Action News is not identifying the teacher because there is an active investigation.

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The video shows a fight about to break out between a few students before the teacher steps in. In the video, he appears to grab the student by the neck, shove him over a chair and continue to choke the student for at least 10 seconds.


Fernandes talked to a parent, Delores Brown, who said that while she thinks the teacher took it too far, she can understand how it happened. Brown said the constant fights at the school, as well as other issues, are making it hard to learn.

The kids are out of control. I think part of the issue is that a lot of teachers are scared of these kids, because these kids have no regard for authority. They have no regard for life,” Brown said.

Brown said there’s a new principal trying to get things under control.

“There’s no organization,” Brown said. “I understand that she’s now trying to get some things together but the kids are suffering because there’s hardly any structure.”

Teachers in Georgia are not supposed to intervene when students are fighting. They are supposed to call school police who are trained to deal with violence. But in many cases, it takes a while. Teachers Fernandes has talked to said it’s hard to stand by and watch.

Channel 2 Action News has covered multiple violent fights this school year. One mother said she’s afraid of letting her child go back to school after bullying and repeated fights at Cousins Middle School in Newton.

In Floyd County, officers have arrested at least 28 Rome High School students for fighting this year. Video from a fight that happened in August showed students throwing chairs and ignoring staff.

The DeKalb County School District will determine if the teacher at Salem will keep his job. It’s unclear if he’s facing any criminal charges.