Quebec school bans cellphones after YouTube video
Teacher on stress leave, two students suspended
A Gatineau, Que.,teacher is on stress leave and his school has banned personal electronic devicesin the classroom after a video of him shouting at a student was posted onthe YouTube website.
Ãcole Secondaire Mont-Bleu has also suspendedtwo 13-year-old girls.
According to the Portages-de-l'Outaouais school board, theincident took place a month ago, when one student provoked the teacher into yelling at her while a classmate secretly taped the confrontation.
After thevideo was posted on the popular internet video site,the teacher was so embarrassed that he stayed home from work, where he remains.
Colleagues say the teacher has 32 years ofexperience and has spent many of those years instructing special classes for students with discipline problems.
Jocelyn Blondin,head of the school board, said he hopes the teacher will eventually return to the classroom.
"The kids feel bad about it," he added.
The video was taken offYouTubeon Monday at the students' request and Blondin said there will be a meeting next week to determine how long the girlswill be suspended from classes.
'The teacher will be the master of his class'
Meanwhile, the incident has forced classmates to unplug at school.
Abdu Mansouri, a spokesman for the teachers' union, said it's important for teachers to be able to enforce discipline.
"The teacher will be the master of his class— a closed class and confidential," Mansouri said, adding that even with the ban on everything fromcellphones toiPods, teachers will likely still fear that they are being filmed.
Students have been told that they will not be searched "but if they even see an earbud coming out of your shirt, they're going to take it away," said one teen who goes to the school.
The teachers' union is trying to get cellphones and other personal electronic devices banned from all schools in western Quebec.
'Confidentiality' a problem
Parent Mike Geisterfer said he understands the teachers' perspective, butteachers need to be accountable for their actions, and he has concerns about that attitude toward "confidentiality."
"What's going to happen when doors [are] closed?"he asked. "Are students going to be taken seriously when they have complaints?"
Incidents similar to the one that took place in Gatineauare common, as a quick search ofthewords"angry teacher"reveals on YouTube.
In fact,one such eventtook place earlier this monthat Ãcole Secondaire Charles-Gravel in Chicoutimi, Que.School officials called police after learning that students had posted a video ofan enraged teacher from the school on YouTube.
RÃ©jean Tremblay, the school principal,told the CBC's French language service Radio-Canadalast week thatstudents had set the scene up by provoking the teacher. They then filmed her with a cellphone camera. Headded thatthe school could not tolerate such serious pranks.
An officerwith the SÃ»retÃ© municipale de Saguenay told the CBCThursday that police will chargethe culprit with damaging the teacher's reputation once they find out who made the film.
In the Ottawa-Carleton school district, union spokeswoman Kerry Houlahan said she is concerned about how easily images can be taken and manipulated without a person knowing.
"I think it's something that needs to be addressed," she said.
The Gatineauincident takes place the same week that a high-profile scandal erupted over another YouTube film— Michael Richards, who played Kramer on the Seinfeld television show, apologized publicly after a video was posted on the popular website of him in the midst of a racist tirade in a comedy club.