Entertainment And News

High School Student Pepper Sprays Teacher After He Confiscates Her Phone — The Teen's Supporters Say Her Privacy Was Invaded

Photo: TikTok
Pepper spray altercation following a teacher taking a student's phone away

Teachers have been confiscating things from students for ages, long before cell phones existed. But as our phones have become an indispensable part of our lives, and a critical tool for parents to monitor their kids' safety and whereabouts, a debate has arisen over whether or not a teacher taking a student's phone away is an appropriate punishment. That debate has arisen even in reference to a shocking incident in which a student attacked her teacher over her phone.

A video shows a high school student pepper-spraying her teacher because he took her phone away.

The video is truly disquieting. Filmed in a high school in Antioch, Tennessee, it shows a student following her teacher out into the hallway and pepper spraying him following a dispute over her cell phone.

RELATED: A School Told Second Graders To Dress As Their 'Favorite Superhero' For Class, So One Girl Dressed As Her Teacher



The teacher confiscated the student's phone because she was allegedly using it to cheat on a test. 

According to commenters on social media, some of whom claimed to have witnessed the incident, the student was using her phone to Google the answers to a test the class was taking just before the incident happened. 

RELATED: 'Ungrateful' Teacher Vents About The 5 Gifts She Got After Doing 100 Hours Of Extra Work



The teacher confiscated her phone and she first pepper sprayed him in the classroom. A student could be heard saying "Mace is crazy!" while other students laughed about the incident. As the teacher and student argued by the classroom door, the teacher could be heard shouting into the classroom, "She just pepper sprayed me."

The student then yelled multiple times "Give me my phone" as the teacher walked into the hallway. When he refused, she pepper sprayed him directly in the eyes from just a couple of feet away, sending him immediately to his knees. As a crowd of students and teachers forms, the student continues saying "I need my phone" and is undeterred even when a teacher tries to reason with her by saying, "You cannot pepper spray people."

RELATED: Mom Tells Her Daughter's Teacher She's Opting Her Out Of Homework For The Year — People Are Saying She's Avoiding 'Responsibilities' To Her Kid

The teacher was previously physically assaulted by another student whose phone he confiscated.

As seen in the TikTok below posted by a parent of a student at Antioch High School, the teacher involved in the incident was punched multiple times in the head earlier in the school year by a student whose phone he confiscated because he was watching pornographic videos in class.



According to the parent, known as @ngrowth on TikTok, the teacher had already threatened to walk off the job because neither the school administration nor the school district did anything about the incident, despite the level of violence of the attack.

In that incident, the teacher was punched so violently that he hit his head on the window. As the parent pointed out, it failed to make the news or to even go viral on social media, despite the level of violence of the attack. 

RELATED: Valedictorian With 1590 SAT Score Rejected From Every Ivy League School

Some have defended the student, saying a teacher taking a student's phone away is inappropriate.

Perhaps surprisingly, the video of the teacher being pepper sprayed over a phone has sparked a heated debate on social media. "They’re not allowed to take the phone that parents pay for," one user commented, "and they are not to touch the students." It's important to note, however, that that is not the policy at most schools, and the student put her hands on the teacher first, as the video shows.

Nevertheless, many people argued along similar lines. "Shouldn't have taken it... not his, he didn't pay for it, she shouldn’t have to ask for anything that belongs to her," another user wrote. "She asked several times clearly and firmly for her phone which he refused to give her back," someone else commented. "He F'd around and found out."

Others pointed out that the teacher confiscating the phone could be a privacy violation. "Maybe her phone didn’t have a passcode and had sensitive information or pictures," one Twitter user commented.

RELATED: After A Principal Told A Teenage Boy He Couldn't Wear His Hoodie In Class, Woman Bashes The Way Parents & Teachers Deal With Kids

Studies show that cell phone use is making teens more aggressive and anti-social. 

Though the student was not without her defenders, most found the incident horrifying and were firmly on the teacher's side. "Ridiculous," one person wrote, "I would’ve sued her, her parents, the district, security, and the principal."

And many pointed to what seems to be a disturbing trend in teenagers' behavior toward teachers and other authority figures. "I'm not sure what it is, but they don't seem to have any care about their actions," one TikTok user wrote. "I'm not sure when it changed. It just has changed." Teachers have expressed similar sentiments. "I don't touch their phones anymore. They get a zero [instead]" one teacher commented on TikTok. "It's an addiction - parents are not aware."

It's no surprise people feel this way, especially in light of several recent incidents in which a teacher taking a student's phone away led to physical violence. And the data reveals that people who feel there has been a shift in young people's behavior are probably right.

A 2022 study at the University of San Francisco found that "tweens"—kids aged nine to 11—who had more than four hours per day of screen time were 69% more likely to show aggressive or anti-social behavior. And they were 62% more likely to have conduct disorders like Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

Study authors noted that social media use was by far the form of screen time most linked to issues of aggression and violence in kids. Author Dr. Jason Nagata, a pediatrician, said social media apps' ads and algorithms exacerbate the problem.

"Children can be exposed to violent content on social media through ads even if they are not searching for it," he If kids do search for violence, algorithms will feed back even more disturbing content and children can get stuck in cycles of toxicity.”

Teens have always been surly and defiant—it comes with the territory, of course. But the levels of aggression that teachers are reporting nowadays should give every parent pause.

RELATED: 8th Grade Teacher Defends Herself After Getting Fired For Giving Students Zeros For Not Submitting Homework

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers social media and human interest topics.