Teacher looks on during fight at Seagoville HS

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on May 9, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 10 at 7:20 PM

Poll:
Should a teacher intervene during a classroom brawl?
Seagoville High School

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NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

DALLAS — Should a teacher intervene during a classroom fist fight?

Video taken inside a Seagoville classroom documents a student brawl and shows the teacher looking on.

For months, Michael Milczanowksi said he has felt targeted at Seagoville High School. "It was ever-constant, never changing, ongoing harassment — that's all it was," he said.

Last week, Milczanowksi said it escalated in geometry class after an argument suddenly got physical.

Another student was attacked, knocking over the sophomore and then punching him at least five times.

"This kid was actually trying to hurt me, and I could see it in his eyes," Milczanowksi said, who is seen just standing there on the video.

More troubling, perhaps, is that his math teacher never physically tries to stop the conflict, although he is heard saying "quit" several times.

"I expected him to physically intervene to keep that from happening, but I guess I was wrong," Milczanowksi said.

The incident ends when the 17-year-old eventually walks out.

Other students recorded the fight and posted the video online. It's still sickening for Milczanowksi's aunt, Christina Vrba, to watch.

"When I pulled up the video, I was speechless. I can't even form words," she said. "Teacher should have stepped in. To me, that is absolutely the worst thing — absolutely."

Dallas ISD would only says it is investigating the incident, and that it has taken disciplinary action against the student who started it.

But the math teacher is getting support from his union.

"Teachers have intervened in the past," acknowledged Rena Honea of Alliance/AFT. "They have been injured. They have not been able to return to work. They have been reprimanded for intervening. So there is a huge question mark as to what's truly appropriate."

But to Vrba, there is no question about what's appropriate. "They are there to protect. We send our children to school hoping they will be safe ... and this is what happens," she said.

The classroom rumble was too much for Milczanowksi. He's now left Seagoville High School, fearful of another attack, and now aware that it could happen anywhere and in front of anyone.

"Enough is enough," he said. "You can only take so much."

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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