Teacher placed on leave after being caught in rant calling students ‘utter morons’

The teacher said she would let the students ‘float away’ if they fell into a river

Graig Graziosi
Monday 24 January 2022 23:51
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<p>Harry Wright Junior High School in Texas, where a teacher was placed on leave after audio was captured of her calling her students “complete and utter morons."</p>

Harry Wright Junior High School in Texas, where a teacher was placed on leave after audio was captured of her calling her students “complete and utter morons."

A Texas teacher was placed on administrative leave after an audio recording captured her calling her junior high-school students "complete and utter morons."

KHOU reports that the teacher, who has not been named but is a first-year teacher at Harry Wright Junior High School in the Houston area, was frustrated about her job.

A KHOU reporter shared a portion of the audio on Twitter.

"If I have to keep dealing with kids that are complete and utter morons, I'm done," she said in the recording. "I'm literally done. I want to be fired at this point. I literally am going to hurt myself if I have to keep coming here."

She went on to say that she had "never in my life dealt with kids that are so awful that if they fell into a river I would let them float away."

The Independent has reached out to the school district for comment.

Last week, the district told KHOU that the comments were "disturbing" and that the teacher had been put on leave on 13 January.

"Parents trust us with their students every day and, unfortunately, the actions of a single person have the potential to breach that trust," the district said in its statement. "That is why it is important to underscore that the hardworking, dedicated staff at Wright Junior High School work to create a place where all students feel included and valued, and the comments made in the video are not a reflection of the campus as a whole."

The state has been seeing an increase in burnout among first year teachers, according to a recent report.

The Texas Teacher Workforce Report found that over a 10-year period, the largest decrease in retention occurred between the first and second year of a teacher's career.

Jackie Anderson, the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, told KHOU that the burnout is causing staffing problems that have already been exacerbated by the pandemic.

"This causes a real hardship, in the teachers that are there they are having to double up their classes and cover additional classes,” she said.

She also noted that first-year teachers have called her asking how they can get out of their teaching contracts without facing severe penalties.

Ms Anderson said that pay was a major contributing factor teacher burnout.

“One thing they have to do is start to compensate. You’re going to get burnt out if you have to work two to three jobs to make ends meet. I can speak from experience as an educator of 33 years," she said.

First-year teachers made less on average in 2019 than they did in 2011 - $54,192 compared to $55,433, on average.

Ms Anderson said that there needs to be a change in the expectations and requirements of teachers - as well as what they are compensated - in order to mitigate the high levels of burnout.

"Bottom line of this is our students are suffering," she said.

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