Paul L. Caron

Monday, April 4, 2011

Professor Arrested for Shutting Student's Laptop in Class

Laptop Frank J. Rybicki, an assistant professor of mass media at Valdosta State University, was arrested by campus police last week on a charge of battery after shutting the laptop of a student who was web surfing in class.

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Golly gee whiz, when I was in school, the teachers never hesitated to slap your wrist with a ruler or send you to the office for a paddling for misbehaving, giving us an incentive to pay attention and behave. Later in life, the toughest teachers were accorded the most respect, as we aged enough to appreciate what they'd done for us.

Posted by: Grundoon | Apr 11, 2011 8:25:25 PM

1. Unless there was a significant injury to the student's finger, I am dumbfounded that the Valdosta police would presume to arrest a faculty member over what seems a trivial incident. Call him in and say an investigation is ongoing, fine. But arrest?

When law enforcement indulges in this kind of (apparent) overreaching, the immediate response should be budget cuts and layoffs.

2. The police were allowed to commandeer a university class? The Dean of Students or similar official didn't attend to class to introduce and monitor the officers? Irrespective of the merits of my #1, the Valdosta administration is composed of gutless wonders.

Posted by: gs | Apr 7, 2011 1:07:08 PM

So closing a laptop lid on someone's fingers is now "violent assault?"

How interesting...

Not to mention no injury was specified. Especially not to mention that a majority of the students in the class seem to be backing the teacher in this case.

Posted by: Casey | Apr 6, 2011 10:31:27 PM

Yeah, Robin, and suing those other professors and the school into bankruptcy is what RICO is for.

Posted by: SDN | Apr 5, 2011 10:00:21 PM

Robin, David, Towering Barbarian - The fact that you defend the so-called student's disrespectful, ignorant and rude behavior says volumes about you.

Posted by: SVT | Apr 5, 2011 8:50:15 PM

How about considering it was accidental that the woman's (she's 22 years old) fingers (or finger) was caught when the laptop was closed?

I think a couple apologies are due here. She for being rude (Facebook?!!?), and not respondong appropriately when she was asked to desist from surfing during class, he for catching her finger.

You know disrespect of a male teacher in other cultures would earn this woman a lot more than a closed laptop. And since there's no moral difference.... /s

Posted by: JAL | Apr 5, 2011 7:12:13 PM

I recall hearing stories about college students drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in class. I know some people may disagree citing various politically correct reasons, but at least students were given the courtesy of being treated as adults. If this lady wants to watch porn while sitting in class, why would the TA care? One assumes she pays for tuition and laptop and wifi, however direct or indirect.
I suspect what happened here has more to do with his ego than with her surfing.

Posted by: PCP Smoker | Apr 5, 2011 6:57:04 PM

I don't think Mr. Rybicki is in any danger of winning any IQ prizes either. On her hand? Really? He was that desperate for her attention? I'm trying to reach within myself to find some sympathy for him. Nope. Not finding any!

Posted by: Towering Barbarian | Apr 5, 2011 6:45:11 PM

Frankly, I don't see why it's anyone's business what site a student IN COLLEGE is surfing! Can you say college! If the student is disturbing others, kick the idiot out of the class. NEVER touch a student. That's Teacher 101.

Posted by: David | Apr 5, 2011 6:41:21 PM

Actions have consequences. I wonder what the student's GPA will be after all the other professors find out. I certainly wouldn't count on anything above a C in that class, no matter what she does. The student isn't very bright to begin with.

Posted by: Robin | Apr 5, 2011 5:13:57 PM

"Ummm, you left out the "on her hands" part.

Yes. It kind of changes the story when you leave out the most salient fact about this violent assault. The professor injured the student in an attack and was thus charged with battery by the police.

Gee, guess what? Professors are not allowed to attack students (who, by the way, have paid to be there).

And the law needs to set a clear example with this professor, who clearly crossed a line by injuring this student.

The police are to be commended.

Posted by: someguy | Apr 5, 2011 4:30:12 PM

In the not too distant future, instructors will be teaching their classes behind a thick plexiglass window like a clerk at gas station in a bad part of town.

Posted by: NR | Apr 5, 2011 4:27:34 PM

Arrested on the charge of battery for helping her to save the charge on her battery?

Posted by: Woody | Apr 5, 2011 12:58:23 PM

This comment by Ann Althouse changes the picture substantially:

Posted by: Andrew Koenig | Apr 5, 2011 6:54:49 AM

Ummm, you left out the "on her hands" part.

Posted by: TRO | Apr 5, 2011 6:28:52 AM

Next they'll arrest the student for illegally poaching on the school's wifi (or whatever).

Posted by: mike livingston | Apr 5, 2011 3:24:59 AM