Longtime art teacher Sandra Hadsock returns to the classroom with a clean disciplinary record from the Hernando School District and a promised appointment for crisis intervention training. Hadsock also must await a Florida Department of Education review and a potential Department of Children and Families investigation of the May 11 incident in which she punched a misbehaving Central High School sophomore.
Hadsock, however, should be entitled to one formality before this episode is considered closed. She is owed an apology.
Though Hadsock has gained attention from the national media and sympathy from educators and parents alike, her union said there has been no remorse expressed toward her from the vile, foul-mouthed boy who used a crude synonym for the female anatomy to insult the teacher.
Hadsock, 64, was arrested and accused of child abuse after throwing two punches at the profane student who approached and leaned into her as she stood with her back to a closed door. The student exploded after Hadsock had ordered him to clean his saliva from a window he had licked. Hadsock contended she acted in self-defense, and a student-recorded video of a portion of the exchange did not provide sufficient evidence to dispute her claim.
The footage, however, did contradict the student's statement that he stepped back from Hadsock when ordered to do so. She struck him twice as he closed in on her, ignoring her shout to "Step back right now!''
Three weeks after her arrest, prosecutors declined to formally charge Hadsock, and the school district followed suit with its own investigation that determined punishment was unwarranted. To ensure no lingering distractions at Central High, Superintendent Bryan Blavatt wisely transferred both teacher and student to other schools.
Hadsock, it should be noted, still has the option of pressing a criminal charge against the teen if she desires. The arresting deputy did not charge the student because Hadsock invoked her Miranda rights and did not give her side of the story. Though the court of public opinion might wish for the teacher to punish the student, Hadsock has revealed no inclination to do so, and her career actions show her to be a caring teacher who looks out for children's best interests.
In that regard, Hadsock may never receive an apology. Often times, juveniles express public remorse for their inappropriate or criminal behavior only when ordered to do so by a court.
It is unfortunate. In this instance, the lesson for a high school student will be incomplete until he takes full responsibility for his behavior.