After hurling racial epithets at his teacher and refusing to comply, a teacher resorted to physically carrying the disruptive teen out of the classroom. However, once the student told his parents what happened, they had the teacher arrested for battery.
At the start of the first period, 47-year-old Jeffrey Paffumi of Buddy Taylor Middle School encountered his first classroom issue. The class was suddenly interrupted by a 14-year-old student blasting music from his laptop. It was then that the countdown to the Florida teacher’s arrest began.
Teaching has always been considered a tough job, especially when it comes to taking appropriate disciplinary measures. However, educators are discovering more and more that there is hardly an action they can take to handle an out-of-control student without being at risk for a criminal charge.
According to The Florida Times-Union, deputies confirmed that the teen refused to turn down the music. Paffumi responded by walking over and muting the song himself. The teen then unmuted the music when the teacher got back to his desk. The same exchange occurred three times before Paffumi took away the teen’s laptop.
The student shouted, “Put my sh– down, cracka,” to which Paffumi responded, “I am not a ‘cracka.'” The student retorted, “You is a cracka,” after rising from his chair. Paffumi then shot back, “Show me how tough you are. You want to call me a cracka?” before picking up the student in a half-nelson and carrying him to the door where he then pushed the teen into the hallway. The teen reportedly suffered no injuries or visible marks due to the encounter.
When the student arrived at home, he complained to his parents that his teacher had physically “thrown” him into the hall, prompting the family to call the police and file a report. Paffumi was quickly arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of battery before being released without bail from Flagler County jail to await trial.
Investigators soon uncovered video of the incident, which was captured by a fellow student. The teen’s father, Keiondrae Woodside, admitted that his son was wrong for aggressively engaging his teacher but ultimately told deputies that he wanted to pursue charges, WESH 2 reports.
“I was infuriated. As a parent when you send your kid to school, you expect for them to get an education at a safe, sound environment and then I saw the video and that really took me over the edge,” Woodside said. “He traumatized him mentally and emotionally and not just him but the other kids that had to witness that.”
During a police interview, Paffumi explained that he had extended an exorbitant amount of patience to the student before acting. He claims that the teen had begun rapping songs loudly, preventing other students from studying, and had even slapped his hand when he attempted to confiscate the laptop.
“I then treated him like an unruly student and grabbed him safely so he couldn’t hurt himself or anybody else,” Paffumi told officers, according to his arrest report. Once Paffumi carried the teen outside the classroom, he said he “pushed him to separate themselves in case (the student) was mad (so he) could not hit me.”
Paffumi claims that he was simply following the school’s policy, which prohibits teachers from physically engaging students unless they present a threat to themselves or others. However, the sheriff’s office disagreed with the teacher’s use of force.
“As a teacher you have to control your temper even when students test you,” Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly said in a media release from the Sheriff’s Office. “Corporal punishment like the old days is not allowed today.”
The school admonished Paffumi’s actions and claimed that he has had several incidents during his teaching career that required suspensions and counseling. However, they did not go into detail as to what actions warranted such disciplinary measures.
Due to the age of the student, the school would not say if student received any consequences for slapping the teacher’s hand or using racial slurs. The teacher may have crossed the line in the eyes of the law, but the student did as well.