New York City middle school teacher Jacqueline Baffoni became so enraged with unruly students that she "fantasized aloud about stabbing them," the New York Post reports.
"I feel like stabbing some of these kids -- I have a knife here," the Language Arts teacher reportedly said after students wouldn't stop talking in her Collaborative Academy of Science Technology (CASTLE) classroom. She reportedly keeps a small knife in her desk for slicing fruit.
Baffoni was fired before a formal investigation concluded. Those close to the teacher tell the Post that such threatening words are uncharacteristic of Baffoni, but could have been uttered as a heated response to notice the day prior that she could be dismissed for unspecified reasons.
Still, Baffoni denied the allegations, calling them "false" and "slanderous rumors" in an email to the Post, noting that she "would never wish to cause harm to any of [her] children."
To be sure, Baffoni raised nearly $400 on donation campaign website Donors Choose in 2010 to provide books for her 90 students, praising them along the way. She wrote on her campaign page:
Many teachers may tell this tall tale, but I really do teach the best students in New York City! I have 3 classes of 8th graders that are reading through all of what they call "the good books" in my library faster than I would've ever imagined! They have exhausted my meager classroom selection and are hungry for more. Our school's selection is outdated and this project will keep my avid readers going while simultaneously encouraging my more reluctant readers to pick up a new, high interest, current text. Many of my students are only able to visit the public library when I take them and I can't give up instructional time often enough to keep them reading at all times. Please help me give them what they want, need and deserve!
CASTLE's students largely come from low-income and minority families. The majority of students -- 77 percent -- receive a free lunch and nearly two-thirds of the students are Hispanic. Students at the school are overall below the citywide average for meeting state standards in math and reading: just 32.7 percent of students met state standards for reading in 2012 and 42.7 percent hit benchmarks for math.
Baffoni's story emerges more than two months after Memphis, Tenn. kindergarten teacher Tameka Gatewood was suspended for comments she made about her students on Facebook.
"What do you think you're supposed to do? Bang! Bang! Shoot 'em up dammit! Just kidding!!" Gatewood wrote about two of her students arguing. "For real tho -- slap their ass back then Bang! Bang! Shoot 'em up dammit."
In the spring of 2011, a first grade teacher in Paterson, N.J., was suspended for writing on Facebook that she felt like a "warden," and referred to students as future criminals. The school board said, however, that officials cannot remove a teacher there for what is said on Facebook and can only act if it spills over into the classroom.
And just weeks earlier in Doylestown, Pa., Central Bucks East High School English teacher Natalie Munroe was suspended for blogging about her students and referring to them as "disengaged, lazy whiners."
Munroe was reinstated at the school because she had a "legal right to her job," but was later fired for poor performance.