Mixed reactions after video shows teacher and student fight over cell phone

Francis Akhalbey April 19, 2023
A Rocky Mount High School substitute teacher and a student got into a physical altercation over a cellphone -- Images via Twitter

Rocky Mount police and Rocky Mount High School announced they have launched an investigation into an incident involving a substitute teacher and a student who got into a physical altercation after a disagreement over a cell phone escalated. 

According to WRAL, Police and Nash County Public Schools (NCPS) said they were informed the altercation stemmed from the teacher confiscating the student’s phone, which occurred in a classroom.

In the video of the confrontation, the teacher, identified as Xaviera Steele, and the student, are initially seen having a back-and-forth conversation over the confiscation of the student’s phone before the fight starts. “Why do the rules not apply to everybody else?” the student is heard asking. “That’s my phone.”

When Steele tells the student the supposed rule “does apply to everybody,” she responds, saying, “No. You did not keep nobody else’s phone,” and is then seen attempting to retrieve her phone as Steele makes a phone call.

“Don’t touch me,” Steele tells her before the student is seen swinging at the teacher. Steele swings back before they both fall on the ground and continue struggling. Steele later gets on top of the student and asks someone “to get a teacher.”

Per WRAL, NCPS policy outlines that “if an employee is attacked by a student, the employee has the right to reasonably restrain the student and defend themselves to the point that they are free of the threat or attack.” When it comes to the use of cell phones, the policy states that “administrators may authorize individual students to use wireless communication devices for personal purposes when there is a reasonable need for such communication.”

Bettie Atcherson, a substitute teacher, also explained how she handles these kinds of situations. “As the adult, you have to contain yourself and not let them take you that far,” Atcherson said.

“If you’re kind to kids, even the toughest kids, if you’re kind to them and show that you love them and are concerned about their well-being … 9 times of 10, you won’t have a lot of problems,” added Atcherson. “But there are always exceptions.”

There were also mixed reactions on social media after the video of the fight was circulated. “I’m sorry. I have no sympathy for teens that want to fight adults,” a user tweeted.

“Teachers, you cannot win in this situation…it’s lose/lose. No job is worth the risk. Walk away and never look back,” another user also shared.

“The child should be charged not the sub,” another user tweeted. “She retreated to the point she was against the wall making a call to have the child removed. The child swiped at the sub twice then swung to injure before the sub defended herself. I’m disgusted by this…”

A user also tweeted: “Inappropriate on sub part . Everybody recording on their PHONES , and the whole altercation is about … a phone.”

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 19, 2023


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