Student sets teacher on fire

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Student Sets Teacher Gabriela Peñalba On Fire: Police
The Huffington Post | Posted: 11/28/2013 1:35 pm EST | Updated: 11/29/2013 8:11 am EST

A Tennessee high school teacher was set on fire by one of her students, cops said.

WATE reports that Gabriela Penalba, 23, turned her back to her class on Monday morning at West High School in Knoxville when a 15-year-old male student set her hair and shirt ablaze using his lighter, police said.

Students quickly put the fire out.

Gawker notes that the student allegedly “exploited the commotion” by throwing the lighter out the window and fleeing before being captured by police.

The quick thinking of her students helped Penalba avoid any burns, according to WBIR.

The student faces aggravated assault and evading arrest charges.

His name has not been released because he’s a minor and has not been charged as an adult.

Eduhonesty: This story hit the news. Many don’t. America’s children almost all go to school until their mid-to-late teens. Last year, I had one who was hearing the voice of Satan. This year I’ve got one with eyes as cold as dry ice. I’d say less than 1% of my students are scary — but for a high school teacher that nets out to 1 or 2 a year and statistics don’t always have much to do with reality. I’ve gone years without trouble and I’ve had multiple sources of possible trouble in one year. I once had a student put a foreign substance in my coffee. Fortunately, classmates alerted me. A fair number of my colleagues have been hit or otherwise harassed over the years. One ended up leaving the state as a result of student violence and its aftermath.

From a University of Illinois publication:

“The largest Hispanic neighborhood in metropolitan Chicago, Little Village is an area plagued by high crime rates and gang violence. Although the community comprises only 4.4 square miles, police recorded 2,625 crimes there during 2006, including 1,222 thefts, 268 robberies, 22 criminal sexual assaults and 11 murders.”

I assure readers that a fair number of these crimes were committed by local middle school and high school students. These kids don’t settle down just because they entered the halls of their local school. They don’t declare a truce at the school doorway.

There’s a reason for all the cameras and surveillance equipment in America’s schools nowadays.