School board to review charges against teacher caught in 2010 YouTube tirade

Monday, March 12, 2012 at 6:04pm

The Metro school board could finalize charges Tuesday against the McGavock High School teacher whose bizarre and scary classroom outburst 18 months ago generated national attention and more than 180,000 hits on YouTube.

If charges were found true, Wood would face termination and dismissal from the district.

“It’s one step in the process,” Metro attorney Mary Johnston said.

On Oct. 8, 2010, McGavock High Algebra II teacher Donald (Brian) Wood unleashed a profanity-laced tirade at students, threw chairs and knocked over tables, forcing his exit from the school via ambulance after an apparent nervous breakdown.

The episode (a portion of which can be seen via a msnbc.com report here) went viral, creating a firestorm, after Wood’s students recorded the outburst and posted it on the Internet. According to one of several charges against Wood, it was the teacher himself who asked his students to use their cell phones to videotape the classroom.

“Your aggressive actions received over 180,000 YouTube hits and created national media attention that negatively affected the school district,” a Metro letter sent to Wood two weeks ago reads.

The City Paper was unable to reach Wood for comment.

Wood, a former 21-year veteran at Metro, has not taught at Metro since he was taken away in an ambulance in October 2010. However, the school board hasn’t finalized formal charges, an action the district must take in order to officially dismiss him.

Director of Schools Jesse Register’s administration has outlined a list of charges against Wood based on state law criteria for teacher conduct to warrant dismissal: incompetence, insufficiency, neglect of duty, unprofessional conduct or conduct unbecoming to a member of the teaching profession.

Some accusations are centered solely on the October 2010 incident, others allegedly occurred beforehand. The school board is set to vote on Register’s recommendations Tuesday.

“Your teaching fails to meet MNPS standards,” the letter, signed by Register, reads.

If Wood were to appeal the notice of charges, a hearing would take place before a state administrative law judge, according to Johnston, the Metro attorney. If he doesn’t appeal the charges, Wood would be terminated from Metro.

A Facebook page in support of Wood –– which calls him “an effective teacher and decent man” –– has 923 “likes.”

The video that became an instant YouTube phenomenon shows Wood swearing at students and tossing tables in front of his 11th-grade Algebra II class. Wood reportedly threw one chair threw a classroom window, prompting some students to run out the classroom. Students are heard laughing and screaming as the incident unfolds.

The pending charges against Wood unpack the episode piece by piece. The video shows Wood telling, “Shut up!” and “Shut your mouth!” to his students.

Alluding to a fire in the boy’s restroom a few days before, Wood shouted at his students: “Do you know who started the fire? Me! I started the fire.”

The district references both statements in its letter of recommended dismissal to Wood. Charges also claim Wood visited McGavock principal Robbin Wall following the incident.

“Immediately after the incident you went to Principal Wall’s office where you kept saying things like, ‘I have the power’ and that you developed ‘relationships’ with some of the [basketball] players’ even though teachers couldn’t do those things. You also stated several times: ‘Mr. Wall is the smartest man in the building.”

“When asked if you were OK, you stated, ‘I’m all right.’ ”

2 Comments on this post:

By: avoidbelmont on 3/13/12 at 7:42

"“Your teaching fails to meet MNPS standards,” the letter, signed by Register, reads"

MNPS Doesn't have any standards. Some of your folks in the administrative offices have yet to learn professional courtesy. That is why people go on the radio in Nashville and tell you to "get your SH*T together" before saying FU!. You need help. You need to come up with solutions that work in the classroom toward an ounce of prevention with these constantly unruly and disrespectful students wearing on teachers' nerves on a daily basis until something like this happens. If you did that, you wouldn't have to grapple with the idea of firing a teacher, you would have a lot fewer problems, and you would have more success in the classroom.

More power to the teachers who put up with students in your disctricts.

Now do your job, Mr. Register.

By: localboy on 3/13/12 at 8:43

"If charges were found true, Wood would face termination and dismissal from the district." This was the statement prior to fully identifying "the McGavock High School teacher" subject. Great composition, team.