ATHERTON (AP) – An Atherton school teacher was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday after he rattled a table to get the attention of his math students, startling an eighth-grade girl who used her cell phone to call police.

Atherton police Sgt. Tim Lynch said officers went to Selby Lane School Tuesday afternoon because of reports a teacher was causing a disturbance.

Officers found a calm teacher with class in session.

The sergeant said the teacher’s table-rattling startled a student and she used her cell phone to call 911. He says other students in the class weren’t bothered by the teacher’s actions.

Redwood City School District deputy superintendent John Baker said the teacher was placed on leave because there was a police response.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (46)
  1. D says:

    wow…somebody needs to be home schooled

  2. CMV says:

    when i was in school, the teachers where know for throw desks across the room and we had no recourse.
    i feel the child should be suspended for using her phone during class time.

  3. JoMama says:

    Take her phone away.

  4. Dorothy Kerr says:

    Someone needs a backbone! My mother & grandmother tell me stories about nuns with rulers & flying erasers… Pay attention and do as your teacher asks and they won’t have to rattle furniture to get you to shut up.

  5. MJ says:

    For those of you who are not aware of this school, it is in Atherton, California. It is one of the richest areas of the Bay Area.

    First, the teacher should be reinstated immediately.

    Second, take the girl’s phone away, and give her detention for making a False Police report.

    How much do you want to bet that she made the call to avoid getting caught for doing something she wasn’t supposed to do?

    1. MGC says:

      The school is located in Atherton, but is a public school in the Redwood City School District. I doubt there are many (if any) rich Atherton kids going to this school.

      1. AKA says:

        I went to Selby Lane and it is not filled with “rich” kids….I highly doubt any Atherton residents children attend this school.

  6. Tom L says:

    I would like to hear the recording of the 911 call to understand how this girl presented this situation to the police as one placing her in imminent danger. I fail to see why the police even bothered to respond to something so trivial.

  7. Margo says:

    ok I was there in the class. We diserved to get yelled at she went to far he didnt throw anything he hit the desk and it fell over and she shouldent come to school at all mr. haynes is the best

    1. Top says:

      Too bad it wasn’t an English class…you could use some instruction in spelling.

    2. Substitute Elsewhere says:

      Good to know. Atherton’s so beautiful. I love it there.

  8. John H says:

    We’ve lost all common sense. The administration in the district are cowards and need to grow a pair. Send the student to the office and call her parents in to come get her. Reinstate the teacher immediately.

    1. Diddy says:

      He does have to be reinstated.

  9. Ricky says:

    They stretched the truth, he yells but only because we deserve it, he’s a great teacher

  10. George Greengorn says:

    I think the girl’s parents should have to pay for the total cost of the 911 episode

    1. jake says:

      you are kidding? 69% of parents in this school don’t even pay for their own kid’s lunch…

  11. Alex r says:

    Naww my teacher would never throw or do anything to any one he is a really good teacher if the class got yelled its because they deserved it if he does something its only so we have a good future its not to get back at any one

  12. kristina says:

    as a teacher, it’s nice to see so many people supporting us. too often, parents automatically back their child, even when presented with all the evidence proving otherwise. there should definitely be some sort of consequence for that student. my school now has to collect all students’ cell phones 1st thing in the morning due to their misuse during class time.

  13. elizabeth says:

    The really sad thing is the number of students saying “he yelled at us, but we deserved it.”

    Since, when is it acceptable for a teacher to yell in class ? Or to hit a desk so hard it falls over.

    Sorry, folks, I’m siding with the girl on this one. If I got this treatment from my boss, I’d report him to HR.

    1. donovan says:

      “This teacher wants his students to one day BE your boss!” Yowza! Best zinger ever!

    2. DaPoPoMan says:

      What a joke. The girl who called 9-1-1 should be charged with a violation of PC 653(x).

    3. James says:

      Got yr Head up yr Ass do we???

    4. elizabeth says:

      Get the sense of what I’m saying : yelling at you and knocking over furniture is not how a responsible person demonstrates interest and a desire to improve a young person.

      In the real world, this behavior gets a person censured, and yes, put on administrative leave. Why ? Because in the real world, amongst adults, one is expected to have self-control.

      I certainly hope that you realize this before you are old enough to stand in front of a classroom (or boardroom) yourself.

      I, for one, am glad that your classmate did. I would encourage my daughter to do the same.

      1. Sarah says:

        According to many students that also replied, this teacher has been an inspiration to them. Sometimes messages that teachers convey are hard for students to understand because they don’t want to look at themselves having done anything wrong. And this type of incident allows that head-in-the-sand behavior to continue. Anyone condemning this teacher needs to try teaching for one day – see how long it takes you to raise your voice.

      2. Repulsed says:

        You don’t live in the real world and you’re teaching your daughter your same sad perspective. Children need discipline, not incessant coddling.

    5. Tom L says:

      Well, Elizabeth, I hope someone in HR would look you in the eye and say “well, if you can’t handle being yelled at, we can hire someone else who can”.

    6. Tom L says:

      Well, Elizabeth, I hope someone in HR would look you in the eye and say “well, if you can’t handle being yelled at, we can hire someone else who can”.

    7. Sarah says:

      Teachers occasionally need to yell when kids are acting like…kids!! It is a completely acceptable practice for a teacher to raise their voice. The girl seems a bit overindulged and reluctant to take responsibility for her own actions. This will not get her far in life.

  14. Vinoman says:

    What a bunch of pansies they have in the school district office! I understand following procedures but it should have ended as soon as the cops showed up and the class was acting normal. Reinstate the teacher now. Take away her phone. This is rediculous.

  15. Dave says:

    Too many spoiled kids and crying babies in US. Sigh! This is why US educational system is behind! This is why we’re getting less and less good teachers! Why can’t the students be kicked out of classroom if they are not paying attention or causing disturbance! I’m not a teacher but I can’t help expressing my anger.

  16. Responsiblefreedom says:

    Elizabeth you’re probably another spoiled entitled brat like the girl who called the police. No wonder our kids cannot compete in the world they’re all a bunch of wining babies—-grow the hell up.

    1. elizabeth says:

      Do you mean “whining” or “winning” ?

      I see a lot of the first from you. The second generally requires self respect, which means not letting oneself get walked over by loud, angry people.


      1. Pandora says:

        Don’t you find it strange that you’re the only one siding with that student?

        The teacher wasn’t being a bully. Why do you assume he’s an angry person? If you weren’t doing your job and were on the cellphone while your boss was talking to you, you don’t think you deserve to be yelled at?

        Try being a teacher. If you don’t see yourself yelling at your students, I can imagine you crying yourself to sleep.

  17. . says:

    You need to chill, its not like they called the cops on you.

  18. Ruby Prado says:

    Out of twenty students in that classroom only one was so frightened, she had the need to contact the police from the bathroom. Why didn’t she think of going to the office? My concerns as a parent would be if theres some kind of physical or mental abuse going on in her household.

  19. Karen says:

    I worked in a Middle School for 9 years and many times 7th and 8th grade students do not pay attention. Rattling a desk was apparently a way to get their attention so the teacher could teach the class. This is totally ridiculous…..

  20. Kodiax says:

    and why wasnt the girl disciplined for making frivilous 911 call? what part of “life threatening” has to be tattooed on her forehead before she gets a clue.
    why didnt she go to the principal? why arent her parents paying for the response to this frivilous call?

  21. franky says:

    I am 12 and this teacher has been a great inspiration on me. He is a great teacher

  22. Laura says:

    I am shocked by the poor spelling and grammer in so many of these statements.

    1. Top says:

      Actually, it’s GRAMMAR.

  23. they have no common sense says:

    I’ll tell ya – school admisistrators these days have no common sense. Suspend the teacher? Whoever suspended this teacher should be fired for stupidity.

  24. Jim Demo says:

    Anybody here ever really sat in on a middle school class recently?
    Go drop in and do it…surprise them……you may be surprised by the entitled
    B.S. behavior kids have today. Oh yeh, parents out there, DON’T GIVE YOUR KIDS A CELL TO TAKE TO SCHOOL ! YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

  25. jake says:

    The teacher is probably happy to be on a payed leave, working in this POS school should be a nightmare, just look at the school stats:

    I bet this “poor, scared” girl has to deal with much more terrifying things outside of the school in her neighborhood every day. It feels like a scam and an attempt to punish the teacher who dared to try to make her to pay attention for 5 minutes or even worse – to stuff some math in her thick head…

  26. Sarah says:

    Does anyone else not see that THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH EDUCATION NOW?? ENTITLED STUDENTS!! This kind of thing leads students to believe they are in charge, and leaves teachers feeling afraid to do what they need to do to get their students to focus during class. This is absolutely ridiculous and this teacher needs to be back in the classroom asap.

  27. Mark says:

    Officer said: “… other students in the class weren’t bothered”

    Should have ended right there. Why didn’t the girl run to the office instead of the bathroom? All the comments from the students here seem to shed more light on what really happened. School admin covering butts with over reaction.

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