A freshman student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is on house arrest and may be expelled from school after allegedly assaulting her teacher and another student in class on Monday.
The incident was a major topic of conversation among students Tuesday, with snippets of video of the altercations being passed from cellphone to cellphone. One video showed the girl hitting a classmate who, witnesses said, was trying to calm her down.
“The teacher was calling her name like 10 times and she wasn’t listening at all," said Giancarlo Mercury, a student who was in the classroom and witnessed the incident. "She just got crazy out of nowhere. She’s like, leave me the F alone, throws the backpack, throws the computer at her, security comes, that’s it."
Another student said he was not in the classroom but saw a different video clip.
“It was a girl with her full forearm wrapped around the teacher’s neck and then security guards came in and tried to separate the situation,” said Tucker Jean, describing what he saw on the video.
It happened in Sharon Cutler’s class. Cutler is regarded by her peers and the administration as being one of the best teachers at the A-rated school. A former CPA, she left that profession to teach business to kids and lead the school’s DECA program.
“Our students walk out of our program and they have a LinkedIn account, they know how to interview, they know how to present themselves,” Cutler told NBC 6 four years ago as part of a Brag About Your School segment.
The teachers union president said the student who was arrested is an example of increased behavioral problems in schools since kids have returned to classrooms during the pandemic.
“Seeing it not just here in Broward County, across the state of Florida, across the country, that our students are acting out, whether it’s in a destructive manner, a disobedient manner, or now in a physical, violent manner,” said Broward Teachers Union president Anna Fusco. “But I would not say our schools are unsafe, our schools are safe.”
Of course, given the history at Stoneman Douglas High School, everything that happens there is magnified, but several teachers at the school told NBC 6 they did feel safe in their classrooms, and in their collective opinion, this incident was an isolated, sad occurrence.
There were no serious physical injuries, but the school district is taking the indirect extremely seriously because it knows behavior like that can escalate without proper intervention.
"Per the school's administration, the School Resource Officer, security team and staff immediately responded to the incident involving a student and teacher. No serious injuries were reported," Broward County Public Schools said in a statement. "School leaders are taking this incident seriously and are cooperating with the District's Special Investigative Unit and law enforcement in their investigation. In addition, the student responsible will face appropriate school disciplinary consequences. Safety and security continue to be the school's highest priorities."