LARGO – A Prince George’s County Public School (PGCPS) teacher was charged and arrested for child abuse and assault after a physical altercation with a student, which was posted on social media.
Largo High School educator Vivian Noirie, 36, of Clinton was arrested and charged with second-degree physical child abuse and second-degree assault after engaging in a fight with a 17-year-old, 12th-grade student on Nov. 15. She spent the weekend in jail and was released to her family after a court appearance on Nov. 18.
According to the Prince George’s County Police Department, the altercation began at around 10:22 a.m. when the student approached Noirie upset after the second-year teacher called her parents the night before. As the student began to walk forward, she stepped on Noirie’s foot and shoulder-pushed her.
According to Police Chief Hank Stawinski, Noirie lunged forward and began assaulting the senior student with multiple blows to the head and body. Students and school employees stepped in to stop the fight, but once the two were separated, the 17-year-old student struck Noirie in the head from behind.
The school resource officer broke up the fight, and police were called, Stawinski said. Despite the physicality of the fight, nobody required medical treatment, police said.
“The nature of that assault was extraordinarily violent,” Stawinski said. “And that conduct is criminal endangerment.”
A student recorded the incident and posted it on social media as police began their investigation, Stawinski said. The video was part of the evidence used to charge Noirie as well as pursing assault changes against the student.
In total, 30 students and eight administrators were interviewed before arresting Noire, Stawinski said. Because of the student’s age, police and school officials have not released her identity.
“I am extremely disappointed by the horrific actions that took place in our classroom today,” PGCPS CEO Monica Goldson said. “It’s important to know that we have set high expectations and standards for our staff and students, and what you saw in that video does not represent the hard work that 10,000 teachers do every day.”
Noirie was placed on administrative leave from Largo High School. Goldson did not comment on her employment status but said that any criminal contact against a student “will result in a consequence.”
“There are de-escalation strategies and conversations (teachers) can have with our students,” Goldson said. “Many times, our students rely on our students to be their trusted adults so they can go to and confide in … We are still doing the preliminary investigation to understand what happened in this situation fully.”
Prince George’s County Educators’ Association (PGCEA) President Theresa Mitchell Dudley said the incident was one of a series of incidents that happened throughout the county of “hostile situations have not been fully addressed.”
While the student in the incident is being looked at for possible charges, Dudley said the individual who posted the video online should be investigated as well.
“The student who posted this incident could have placed in peril a protection order by disclosing the location of a victim of abuse,” Dudley said. “Posting a video without the consent of those involved is a violation of school system policy.”
In the last 12 months, PGCPS has dealt with multiple negative news stories involving their teachers. Last November, former PGCPS Potomac Landing Elementary School media specialist Darlena Sale admitted to using a racial slur against a black family in a La Plata shopping center parking lot. Sale decided to retire during the investigation.
On Oct. 11, PGPD arrested Bladensburg High School business education teacher Thomas Barber on four charges of sexual assault on a minor and other related charges after officials say he engaged in sexual contact with a 17-year-old student since the start of the school year.
The accuser told Bladensburg security officials, who followed protocol in contacting the school system and child protective services. Thomas, who was also the assistant coach for Bladensburg’s junior varsity girls volleyball team, is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 8.
Police officials also confirmed that they were called to Largo High School on Nov. 14, the day before the fight, when it was discovered that a student was found with a semi-automatic handgun. The school’s resource officer found the student with the weapon and alerted authorities. According to Stawinski, the fight and the weapon discovery are not related.
When asked about the recent number of negative stories surrounding PGCPS, Goldson said while it is not a systemic problem, “one incident is one too many.” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks followed up saying that the whole situation made her feel “irate” and is not a fair representation of the teachers and the county’s school system.
“Whether it is one incident or two for the whole school year, what we want everyone to understand is that this is entirely unacceptable,” Alsobrooks said. “Violence in any form will not be tolerated … and we want to send the right message that our schools are safe and secure and our classrooms are places where teaching and learning happens.”
Dudley echoed similar sentiments, stating there needs to be a strong emphasis in schools on respecting teachers.
She started a GoFundMe webpage to collect donations to help Noirie pay for any defense or attorney fees. As of Nov. 19, $2,645 of the $5,000 goal has been raised.
“It is time for restoring our schools, students, and community to whole,” Dudley said. “… The ‘Jerry Springer’ culture of our society that condones violence, publicizes it as a virtue, and accepts it as a norm, must cease. Our community must adopt a culture of peace.”
Noirie is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 18.