NYC charter school hit with criticism after video of teacher berating student spreads online
A New York City charter school network was on the defensive on Friday after video came to light showing a teacher loudly punishing a student for missing a math problem.
The footage, which was published by the New York Times, captures Charlotte Dial’s outburst during a 2014 incident at a Success Academy campus in Brooklyn.
Dial, who taught first grade at the school at the time, is seen in the video berating a female student after the girl fails to explain how she solved a math problem, telling her “Go to the calm down chair and sit. There is nothing that infuriates me more, than when you don’t do what’s on your paper.”
She is also seen ripping the girl’s worksheet in half and telling her, “You’re confusing everybody.” The incident was secretly filmed by an assistant teacher.
The footage was greeted with apprehension online, where critics called Dial’s conduct “an absolute horror show” and “absolutely disgusting,” among other things.
According to the Times, Dial has since been promoted into a “model teacher” position, in which she is responsible for training colleagues, and retained her position following a brief suspension after school officials reviewed the video.
While Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz said the footage “proves utterly nothing” other than a moment on frustration on the part of Dial, a former teacher and assistant principal at two academy campuses, Jessica Reid Sliwerski, suggested that harsh treatment of students was encouraged.
“It’s this culture of, ‘If you’ve made them cry, you’ve succeeded in getting your point across,” Sliwerski told the Times.
Another former teacher, Carly Ginsberg, said she once saw an instructor make a female student cry hard enough to throw up in another incident concerning a math problem.
“It felt like I was witnessing child abuse,” Ginsberg said. “If this were my kindergarten experience, I would be traumatized.”
Dial released a statement saying she was “deeply committed” to her school’s children and families.
“I’m sorry for my lapse in emotional control 15 months ago,” the statement read. “As I tell my scholars to do, I will learn from this mistake and be a better teacher for it.”
Success Academies responded to the story by posting a separate video of parents supporting the school discussing the incident involving Dial. One parent said that the video largely resembled some interactions with her own child.
“It’s a tough love thing,” the unidentified parent states. “If I tell you when it’s over, and my son finally brings it to me, the hug and the love is there and he knows it.”
Watch footage of the incident, as published by the Times, below.
Success Academies’ response video, as posted online, can be seen below.