A teacher at the Collaborative Academy of Science Technology and Language Arts on the Lower East Side of Manhattan was fired last year after allegedly making jokes about stabbing her eighth-grade students. But was the line done with true malice?
As reported by the Daily Mail, Jacqueline Baffoni, 32, kept a knife for slicing fruit in one of her desk drawers and when she became frustrated with some rowdy students, she said something she would soon regret.
“I feel like stabbing some of these kids - I have a knife here.”
Baffoni lost her job before a formal investigation could be conducted. For her part, she denies the allegations and wrote in an email, “I would never wish to cause harm to any of my children.” It is unclear what role, if any, the fact that Ms. Baffoni received written notification that the school was discontinuing her probation played in the incident.
Baffoni’s former roommate of two years painted a different picture of the ex-teacher in comments she made to the New York Post. Tracy Wu says that even if Baffoni did make the controversial comments, it wasn’t out of true malice or a desire to put her students in real danger.
“I can understand her saying something like that in the heat of the moment while being stressed out,” said Wu. “She is incredibly dedicated to her job and to her kids — probably more than she should be. For some of the kids’ birthdays, she holds barbecues . . . and she spends her own money on them. She really makes them feel like family.”
The Post had previously praised Baffoni for her part in a “Cash for Grades” program and it is also documented that she raised more than $400 for her students to spend on books using the Donors Choose website. During those efforts, Baffoni reportedly said, “Many teachers may tell this tall tale, but I really do teach the best students in New York City!”