Pam Aister has been an elementary school teacher for 25 years and is called fun, firm and fair by her students. But after she intervened when she saw 5 of her students bullying another boy, the parents of the bullies demanded that she be fired. The school board for the Fountain Hills Unified School District in Arizona yielded to those demands on September 29, firing Aister.
In May, Aister said that she noticed the boys calling their victim racist names.
“He was called the n-word, monkey, and coon,” Aister said in an interview with KNXV-TV.
Aister said that she told the boys:
“If you’re picking on him, you’re picking on me. It’s not five against one, it’s five against two, and there will be no more taunting, teasing or racial names.”
The parents of the bullies claim that Aister’s version of events is untrue and that she was rude to their children telling them to “shut up” and making a remark about one of the boys having an “ugly face.” They demanded that their children be removed from Aister’s classroom and assigned to another class which the school did.
The boy who Aister defended was moved into her classroom at his mother’s request, due to bullying that he had experienced in another class.
In an interview with KTAR-FM radio, Aister said that the school board had justified her firing by saying that she had bullied the bullies and then failed to report the incident to the school’s administration.
“I’ve been there so long,” Aister told KTAR, “and I’m one of the most requested teachers, they come into my room they know that I can be firm but that I’m fair and that we take brain breaks, that I praise my kids and they become self-confident. Parents have commended me on that.”
One of the parents of the bullies said of Aister:
“In this instance, these parents, everyone knowing what they know about her reputation and knowing that there was actual proof and knowing there was more than one witness, felt that this was their opportunity to finally bring to light the way that she treats certain children.”
This sort of reaction to a teacher doing the right thing, standing up to bullies on behalf of their victim can only lead to even more bullying, as teachers will be afraid to speak up and put a stop to the behavior for fear of losing their jobs.
Watch a local news report on Aister’s firing below: