Parents react to teacher's inappropriate video of student

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – It made some of you angry. It made others sad. We're talking about cell phone video of a student with autism stuck in a chair. And it was shot by his teacher.

More than a thousand of you commented on this story on our Facebook page. People angry at the Michigan teacher, even angry at us for posting the video on-line. But you might be surprised who's not angry about it.

Until Newschannel 5's Mike Rush showed it to her, Tena Harjoe had not seen the video of the 11-year-old autistic child struggling to get out of a chair. But then again, she really didn't need to see it.

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"I've had a child in that situation," Harjoe said. "Exactly."

With 32 years teaching special needs kids, Harjoe has pretty much seen it all. At Promise Christian Academy in Town and Country, she rolls with the punches.

"Personally, I'd go get Vaseline, the occupational therapist and another teacher," she said about getting the student out of the chair.

But for Lisa Boland, "It brings to mind all of the things that can happen to your kids." She finds the video shot by the boy's teacher hard to watch.

Her 13 year old son, Jack, was diagnosed when he was 18 months old.

"I can't control his autism but I can control the environment that I put him in and that he's successful," she said.

Without knowing the full context of the video, the images make this mom sad.

"For me that was the first thing that came to mind is, somebody needs to be his voice," she said.

While that's an understandable reaction many share, Harjoe's decades of experience with autistic kids gives her a different perspective.

"Let's make it like it's not an anxiety situation so the child gets upset and that the other children get upset and it becomes an emergency, an unnecessary emergency," she said.

Harjoe does point out that she doesn't condon a comment the teacher made about the student getting tasered and she doesn't agree with the video being shared.

The teacher who shot it is on paid administrative leave.


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