DETROIT (WWJ) – A Detroit Public Schools teacher fired after she used a broomstick to try to break up a violent fight between two teenage boys is being allowed to return to the classroom.
In an email sent to WWJ Newsradio 950 Tuesday morning, Education Achievement Authority spokesperson Chrystal Wilson said after further review of the April 30 incident at Pershing High School, the EAA has decided to reinstate Tiffani Eaton as a teacher.
Wilson said Eaton will receive retroactive pay from the date of her dismissal and will have the option of being assigned to another school within the district, if she chooses.
Eaton, who was hired in January, was fired earlier this month for apparently violating the corporal punishment provision under the Michigan school code by striking a child with a broom.
The fight was captured on cell phone video that was posted online and viewed thousands of times. The video shows the boys slugging it out in a ninth-grade classroom, knocking over desks as classmates scream in horror. The video also shows Eaton – who is smaller than both boys – hitting one across his back with a broom in an attempt to stop the altercation.
The student backed off after being hit with the broom, but the other student ran back toward him and the fight continued. The fight, which lasted over a minute, eventually ended when another classmate stepped in and separated the boys.
Teachers have two-way radios they use to call security in cases like this, but Eaton said her radio was not working at the time.
The boys involved in the fight, ages 15 and 16, received suspensions.
“The safety and security of students and staff is our primary concern,” Wilson said in an email. “We therefore, remain committed to ensuring that all safety protocols and procedures are properly followed throughout the district.”
Students arriving for classes at Pershing High School, on 7 Mile and Ryan roads, Tuesday morning said they were glad Eaton is being offered her job back.
“It’s a good decision because it was like, you know, she had no other choice. I’m glad she got her job back,” said one student.
“She had to do what she had to do. Somebody had to break up the fight,” another student said.
“Yeah it’s a good decision. She did the right thing,” said another student.
The students remain divided, however, on whether they thought Eaton should return to Pershing or move to a different school.
“I mean, if she wants to stay, she can,” a student said. “But if she wants to leave for a different school for the way she got treated, then she should.”
It’s not clear if Eaton will take her job back. Calls for comment were not immediately returned.
Pershing High School is run by the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan — a fairly new statewide school system that has assumed operation of the lowest five percent of performing schools in the state that did not achieve satisfactory results on a redesign plan or that are under an emergency manager.