How can teachers stop children from plotting to kill them?

In a recent article, several Elba Elementary School fourth grade students plotted to kill their teacher. The students were interviewed by law enforcement and the matter was subsequently returned to the Elba School District. The Elba School District has elected not publicized the disciplinary consequences delved out to the students.

The plot to kill the teacher was first discovered in December before the fourth grade students were scheduled for their Christmas vacation. The teacher announced to her students that all antibacterial products were banned in her room. An antibacterial is an agent that interferes with the growth and reproduction of bacteria.

Elementary School children are exposed to various forms of bacteria. According to the National Sanitation Foundation, children are more likely to bring millions of germs home from school. In a recent study, they found that:

The students responded to the teacher demands by plotting to kill her. The plot was discovered by concerned parents and a school board member. The students planned to expose the teacher to anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and other products because she was highly allergic to them. One student said the teacher “yells at us and that the class has problems with her.” Another claimed the plan to poison the teacher came from another student. Additionally, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department report indicated alleged bullying in the classroom, and the officers were told that particular class of fourth graders “had problems working together.”

The teachers primary problem that contributed to the students plotting to kill her was yelling at the students.

Yelling at students is a common practice in elementary schools. It is a practice that is allowed by many elementary school principals too. It’s hard to discipline children. You can’t hit them. Timeouts are not effective. Now, a study out of the University of Pittsburgh says yelling at teens and tweens — particularly when it involves cursing or insults — can be just as harmful as hitting.

Yelling is a costly mistake because:

  1. Improvement is temporary.

Yelling only works in the moment. Like a playground bully, it’s used to intimidate students into compliance. The only reason why it works is because the teacher has an unfair size and/or authority advantage.

  1. It doesn’t change behavior.

Behavior only changes when students want to behave better–which is the result of strict accountability combined with a teacher they like and trust. In the end, yelling causes more misbehavior, not less.

  1. It weakens your influence.

Yelling will cause students to secretly dislike you, distrust you, and desire to disrupt your class. Let’s face it. Even one revengeful student can make your life miserable. You need your students on your side.

  1. It replaces real accountability.

Teachers who yell tend to do so instead of following their classroom management plan. Students learn quickly that if they can endure their teacher’s outburst, they can be on their way without being held accountable.

  1. It sabotages real accountability.

Teachers who lecture, yell, or scold while escorting students to time-out, drive a wedge through the teacher/student relationship, causing anger and resentment. So instead of sitting in time-out and reflecting on their mistake, your students will be seething at you.

  1. It causes students to tune you out.

When you yell, you train your students to listen to you only when you raise your voice. In other words, they learn that unless you’re shouting, you must not really mean it. Before you know it, you’ll be giving directions like a carnival sideshow barker.

  1. It’s stressful.

Yelling is a sure sign that you let misbehavior get under your skin. It’s an expression of frustration, of taking behavior personally, and of trying to get even with students. It’s also terribly stressful. It’s bad for your health. And it makes teaching a cheerless slog.

  1. It’s difficult to defend.

Yelling at students is near the top of the list of parent complaints. And it’s difficult to defend. “I’m sorry, I just lost my cool” is about the best you can do. The fact is, no misbehavior, and no level of disrespect, warrants yelling at students.

  1. It’s graceless.

Have you ever seen yourself on video losing your cool? Probably not, but one thing is for sure: it ain’t pretty. You might as well grab a megaphone and shout, “Hey everybody–students, fellow teachers, administration–I don’t have control of my class!”

  1. It provides a poor model.

Students are more influenced by what you do than by what you say. When you yell, react emotionally to misbehavior, or otherwise lose your composure, you provide a poor model for your students for how to behave when things don’t go their way.

Instead of yelling at students, teachers can use the following strategies for interacting with challenged students:

  1. When students are talking lower your voice
  2. When students are talking when you are talking, ask them “Do you have something to contribute to the lesson
  3. Incorporate cooperative learning activities
  4. When giving instructions always ask “Are there any questions?”
  5. Implement a three step warning system for disruptive students. Teachers can use other classroom management and disciplinary strategies for ensuring the cooperation of their students instead of yelling at the students.

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships









“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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About Classroom Racism Management Specialist

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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