Teacher drops table, kid calls 911

An eighth-grade math teacher rattled a table to get students’ attention, say police in the wealthy Silicon Valley suburb of Atherton. A 13-year-old girl called 911 from the bathroom to accuse the teacher of throwing things and profanity. “I’m scared,” she said.

When police arrived on campus, they found John Haynes calmly running his class. Officers concluded Haynes had raised a desk a few inches off the ground and dropped it;  the desk landed on its side. He’d raised his voice and used profanity, said Lt. Joe Wade.

Most of the students in the class weren’t bothered by the teacher’s actions, Sgt. Tim Lynch said. Though the teacher “dramatically” made his point, “it wasn’t a teacher out of control,” he added.

Haynes was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Police released the tape of the 911 call.

The Palo Alto Daily News story includes an interview with Ruby Prado, the mother of the friend who lent her cell phone to the caller.

“My daughter is an honor roll student and I would say it’s partly — mostly — because of him,” Prado said. “He’s a very good teacher. He’s committed.”

She said her daughter hadn’t mentioned that Haynes used any swear words and is concerned her teacher might now be in trouble.

. . . “It just sounds like the whole thing has gotten blown out of proportion.”

Ya think?

About Joanne


  1. It’s very easy these days for people to blow things out of proportion. I had a student accuse me of being rude and dismissive of him after I jokingly responded to his “Gee, there’s almost no one here for class today…will you give us extra credit for being here?” with a chuckle and a “there are an awful lot of things I do that I don’t get extra pay for…” The other students interpreted it as me being gently joking so I don’t think my tone was off or anything.

    I’ve just learned: DON’T JOKE IN CLASS. DON’T GET UPSET IN CLASS EVEN IF IT MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED. Because one hypersensitive person looking to be offended can give you lots of trouble.

  2. Case #1 for why teachers need unions. How likely do you think it is that this man would have already been fired without union protections?

  3. georgelarson says:


    There is no mention of a union in the article. Can you give an example of a teacher’s union acutally protecting a member from this kind of silliness?

  4. Obviously the overprivileged kids in Atherton have no clue what is and what is not a truly threatening situation…

  5. Stacy in NJ says:

    The parents of the other students should be outraged that a competent teacher’s class was interrupted with this silliness. I hope the 911 caller and her parents take some heat for this. 911 is for life threatening emergencies not for petulent teens seeking attention.

  6. Sean Mays says:

    My students didn’t always appreciate my math humor in class. One day an intrepid individual asked if they’d get extra credit for laughing at my jokes. I said no, but you WILL lose points if you don’t laugh…

    I had some explaining to do THAT afternoon I can tell you. Good thing it wasn’t caught on camera phone.

  7. georgelarson :

    The district has already suspended him. Are you telling me that the district would not have already fired him if he didn’t have a union contract to protect him?

  8. Um, and what did our little drama queen get as a consequence?


    Just learned? Bit slow, are you?

    Obviously, the girl was doing it to cause trouble.

    And why did the police respond? Why not contact the school?

    God, what a world.

  10. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Middle school.

    Where non-compulsory education should start.

  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    When my father was in what amounted to jr hi way back then, he and a buddy had some lobster pots going in the summer. Once in a while they’d see somebody in a boat messing around their buoys. So they’d get a buddy a little older, say sixteen, who had a rifle and they’d go out, only to find that the other guys had tangled their anchor line or something. Right.
    He got his degree some years later, did his bit in WW II and turned out okay.
    Wonder about this bunch, though.

  12. A teacher of my son once raised a desk and slammed it down, too. Actually, I thought it was outrageous. It was accompanied by a rant at the kid that was par for the course, with this particular teacher who cannot control his anger at kids. I don’t like it. I don’t like yelling, I don’t like outbursts of anger. I don’t know anything about the situation outlined above, but I do think that teachers need to show more respect for children.