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Duncanville Student Whose Rant Against Teacher Went Viral Was Once a High School Dropout

Zac mentioned the video in Leading Off this morning. WFAA spoke with the student, whose name is Jeff Bliss. He’s 18 years old and only a sophomore at Duncanville High School because he dropped out for a year. It was only then, he told the station, that he learned the value of an education.

Bliss told News 8 the situation began when he questioned the teacher about why students did not have more time to prepare for the STAAR test. But he said the conversation escalated after the teacher told him to stop complaining. After a brief verbal exchange, Bliss said the teacher told him to leave her class. That’s when a classmate begins recording the video that has gone viral.

In it, Bliss unloads on his instructor’s teaching style — specifically critical of her passing out worksheets rather than creating lively and engaging discussions.

Bliss’ mother is a teacher at another large district in North Texas.

Duncanville ISD has issued this statement about the video:

As a district with a motto of Engaging Hearts and Minds we focus on building positive relationships with students and designing engaging work that is meaningful.  We want our students and teachers to be engaged, but the method by which the student expressed his concern could have been handled in a more appropriate way. We are and will continue to be open to listening to students.

I hesitate to rush to judgment about this teacher without better understanding the context of the incident. Maybe this student’s speech really did just begin as complaining about the STAAR tests, and maybe this student finds excuses to bellyache about his schoolwork all the time, and it was only after being asked to leave the classroom that he decided to pretend this was a noble stand for the future of our country. But, sure, it could also be that this is a lazy, disengaged teacher.

While we’re on the subject of education, I’d like to make my own personal plea to the nation’s educators, as well as to parents: Please, I’m begging you, let’s help our young people to learn not to settle for mediocrity. Let’s teach them to achieve great things. When God created the smartphone, he never intended for videos to be shot in portrait orientation, so that viewers would have to suffer the indignity of watching footage with two giant black bars on both sides. Kids, we can do better. Turn your phones sideways. That’s all it takes.