Neighbors react to punishment for student accused of slapping teacher

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 12-year-old at Geeter Middle School student was suspended and ordered to appear in court after he reportedly slapped a teacher.

Memphis police said a 43-year-old teacher reported the violence, and the student was sent home to his family.

“That’s messed up. That’s messed up,” said Westwood resident Bryan Hastings.

Some question if the punishment was too lenient.

Shelby County Juvenile Court said these situations are generally handled with a juvenile summons, like what happened here.

Chief Probation Officer Barry Mitchell said juvenile court prioritizes rehabilitation, not detention.

“The ‘scared straight’ really doesn’t work. How they’re brought down here really doesn’t make much of a difference,” Mitchell said.

Other Westwood residents said they believe the punishment the student is facing is too strict.

One neighbor suggested transferring the student to a different school rather than punishing him legally.

Juvenile court has been under fire in recent years, as many questioned why so many children of color became part of the system.

Mitchell said the facility has made several improvements. He said several years ago, they had between 80 and 100 children in detention each day.

Currently, that number is closer to 40.

Shelby County Schools could not go into details about the incident. It said it expects students to follow the code of conduct.


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