A viral video sparked an investigation into a recent altercation at a Texas middle school in which a teacher lowered her mask and seemed to purposefully breathe onto a student.
The incident took place on September 17 at Mead Middle School, just outside of Houston, according to the Daily Mail. In the video, the teacher, who has not been named, can be seen aggressively approaching a female student who is cornered between a wall and a desk and breathing on her with her face mask lowered.
“Shut up,” the teacher can be heard saying in the video. “First of all, don’t get it twisted. I don’t care. I don’t care.”
“Get out of my face,” the student says back. The teacher responds, “Make me.” Other things heard in the video suggest that the student might have been attempting to leave the classroom.
The video appears to begin in the midst of a situation and it’s unclear what led to the confrontation. To date, the video has been viewed over 103,000 times on Facebook, getting over 1,000 reactions and 876 comments as of Saturday evening.
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The student from the video, Jacqueline Garza, said that the teacher also swore at her during the altercation. She explained that prior to the incident, the teacher had been attempting to get students to stop using their phones.
“We were using our phones and she asked us not to use our phones,” Garza told Click2Houston. “I was like, ‘Okay.’ And she was like, ‘Okay.’ And we went back and forth and she said, ‘Don’t disrespect me like that.’”
Garza further claimed that it was at this point that the teacher began to get in her face.
“That’s when she got in my face and she said, ‘Don’t disrespect me!’” Garza explained. “She was breathing on my face with her mask off, spitting on my face. It made me feel embarrassed and scared, not just for me, but my whole class.”
Following the release of the video online, the unnamed teacher was placed on administrative leave by the Aldine Independent School District, and an investigation into her conduct was opened. Aldine is among the 19 school districts in Texas with mask mandates in place for students and staff members.
On Thursday, the district told the Daily Mail that the teacher was removed from the classroom and faces termination.
“After being notified of the incident, the teacher was removed from the classroom and an investigation was conducted,” a district spokesperson told the publication. “The investigation has concluded and the district will take appropriate administrative action.”
Newsweek has reached out to the Aldine Independent School District for a comment on this story.
Garza’s mother, Maria Garza, told Click2Houston that she was angry upon seeing the way the teacher attempted to discipline her daughter. She said the teacher “could have acted differently. You know, a different way.”
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