Quite a few people, including PZ, have posted this video of a student completely loosing it in a classroom. From the school paper:
“Associate Professor Stephen M. Kajiura was reviewing with his evolution class in GS 120 for a midterm when FAU student Jonatha Carr interrupted him: “How does evolution kill black people?” she asked. Kajiura attempted to explain that evolution doesn’t kill anyone.…..The classmate reported that Kajiura was discussing attraction between peacocks when Carr raised her hand to ask her question about evolution. She asked it four times, and became increasingly upset each time Kajiura’s answer failed to satisfy her.
A video taken by Bustamante shows Carr ranting and threatening to kill the professor and several students.”
I’ve discussed violence before that is motivated by anti-evolution, both directed against me and others.
Honestly, I don’t think this outburst had that much to do with evolution, although it’s certainly scary that evolution seems to be the topic that triggered the student’s outburst. What I was struck by, watching that video as someone who’s been teaching for over 25 years, is the behavior of the instructor and the other students:
- They tried to engage in dialog with a person that is clearly in severe mental distress
- They did not clear the classroom
- It took way too long before anyone called 911
- The students were more interested in filming the student’s meltdown than getting to safety
That? Honestly? Bothers me far more than what the woman was yelling.
If there is anything that needs to be discussed and post-processed about this, it’s that the area was not secured, not that she was angry about evolution.
Do you teach?
Do you have a plan for what you would do in your class if something like this happened?
Have you thought about how you might get all your students to safety in case of an emergency?
Have you recieved training–or at least instructions–about what to do with a distressed student?
If someone is this out of control, your best bet is to GTFO. Get the distressed person in a quiet room, or make the room quiet by getting everyone else out. But don’t expect rational discourse to work.
If you are going to watch this video, do it with an eye to how you would have handled this situation as an instructor.
And learn from it.