Fired teacher's lawyer speaks out after broom brawl

Fired teacher's lawyer speaks out after broom brawl

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(WJBK) - The lawyer for the Detroit teacher who was recently fired after breaking up a fight between two students with a broom is speaking out, answering some of the lingering questions about the incident.

The incident was caught on cell phone video. In the video, two students at Pershing High School fight for at least half a minute before the teacher, Tiffani Eaton, intervenes. Several students can be seen standing by as the two fight, knocking over desks.

When Eaton does intervene, she appears to strike one of the students on the back with a broom multiple times. The fight ended momentarily before starting again, and then ended when another student appears to step in.

Eaton's lawyer, Jeff Abood, tells FOX 2's Maurielle Lue "the result was what she wanted, which was to separate them before anybody was seriously hurt or killed." He is taking Eaton's case for free.

Eaton was fired after the incident despite the fact that her lifeline, a school-issued walkie talkie, was broken.  

Pershing is in the EAA system, the state's school turnaround district. Their back-up policy called for Eaton to run to the doorway and call to other teachers for help but Abood explains that option would have failed.

"Her classroom has two doors that you can enter and exit from, but neither of those doors go out to a common hallway; both of them go into another classroom. So she would have to go through a classroom full of students in order to get out into the hall to ask somebody for help," he explains.

EAA schools released a statement after FOX 2's story: "The EAA seeks to promote a safe environment for its students and staff and does not and will not tolerate any inappropriate conduct."

"She did what she thought was her job, which was to not only teach and educate the students in her classroom, but also to protect them - and she lost her job over that," Abood says.

Eaton was invited to petition for her job back at a board meeting scheduled for June 17th, but reinstatement could be the least of her problems. By law, the school had to report the incident to Child Protective Services and she could be charged with child abuse.

Abood says he doesn't think the charge is likely.

Meanwhile, several forums have been set up locally to help support the teacher.

A petition has been started on change.org calling for the teacher to get her job back.

WKQI-FM's Mojo in the Morning has also started a GoFundMe account to help the teacher during her time without pay. Click here for donation information.

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