Monday, May 01, 2006

Teacher Fired For Protecting Student

A Denver area charter school fired a teacher (Polica James Houston) after he intervened when a cop was being "overzealous" in his interrogation of a 14 year old student.
Students from KIPP Cole College Prep in Denver protest the firing of a teacher who allegedly interfered with a police officer's questioning of a student. (Post/Brian Brainerd)

About 60 Denver middle school students walked out of class Thursday to protest the firing of a teacher who they say stuck up for a seventh-grader interrogated by police in a school hallway.

The principal called a Denver police officer to the school after a father "threatened physical violence" against him, Harrison said.

The officer talked to the principal, then tried to question the man's daughter - Nichelle Keys.

Keys, 14, said she ran down the hallway when the officer called to her. She says he grabbed her by the straps on her backpack, slammed her into a locker, pulled her hands behind her back and spread her legs.

The officer pointed his finger in her face and demanded to know where her father lived, Keys said. She doesn't live with her father and didn't know the answers to the officer's questions, she said.

"It was just scary," Keys said.

She said the principal called her father to talk about her behavior.

The girl was wearing a wrist brace and said the officer sprained her wrist when he grabbed her hands.

Denver police said Keys has not filed a complaint. Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said that the girl ran away from police and that the officer did not touch her. Houston, who intervened in the police investigation after students ran to him and told him what happened, said he was fired through voice mail Wednesday night.

Houston said Keys was "sobbing and could barely breathe."

The teacher said that he asked the officer for his badge number and that they had a heated verbal exchange.

So much for standing up for your students. This is a huge tragedy for the students at KIPP as this was no doubt a teacher the students trusted to stand up for them. Now this teacher is gone and there is little chance of him getting his job back.

Polica James Houston, I salute you for having done the right thing. You took the high and honorable road and unfortunately you have suffered for it. In the end you will be rewarded but lets hope and pray that you will be rewarded here and now. The world needs more men like you!