BCSD parents express concern over district’s investigation

June 22, 2020 /

It remains unknown how a Bakersfield City School District investigation is going almost two and a half weeks after an employee was caught on video threatening a woman who was with her daughter, attending a Black Lives Matter protest.

The video shows Carrie Maxwell, a BCSD teacher who reportedly taught at Wayside Elementary, telling the woman, “I’ll (expletive) kill you,” in front of the woman’s daughter.

The district announced an investigation shortly after the video went viral on social media. Kern Sol News requested an update on the investigation Monday; however, BCSD said labor laws prevent the District from disclosing personnel information. The District has no further comment at this time.

BCSD parents are wondering what actions are going to be taken to resolve the issue.

“It is very concerning now sending children to school,” said Joseph, a father to a Wayside Elementary student who did not want to share his last name. “(School) is supposed to be a place of peace where children’s brains get stimulated in every aspect academically and emotionally. Teachers are mandated to report any negative incidents occurring in a child’s  life inside and outside of school, so it is very concerning to trust Maxwell after seeing this kind of behavior.”

After the video of Maxwell went viral on social media, Maxwell issued an apology.

“I want to offer my sincerest apology to anyone who was hurt by my behavior in that video,” Maxwell said in a statement. “My behavior was never intended in any way to diminish this important time in the life of our country…Every many, woman, and child deserved to be treated with dignity, compassion, and equality, regardless of the color of their skin, and every person deserves to live a life free of fear.”

Maxwell said in her apology statement that the video captured a “moment” of her “anxiety, frustration, and panic for the safety of my family.”

Maxwell said she became anxious as a Black Lives Matter protest took place near her home, where she cares for her autistic son and elderly mother, who are both vulnerable to health complications, according to Maxwell.

“I was reading her reasoning, defending herself that she was afraid for her autistic child and elderly mother,” said Joseph. “Her actions did not show someone who feels self-threatened.”

Joseph continued: “I want to know exactly what made her upset enough for her to run outside. When you are scared, you stay away from the threat.”

Joseph said his daughter was in Maxwell’s art class. He said his daughter has told him in the past that Maxwell “is always screaming and yelling at the children in her class.”

“Now I’m wondering what kind of profanity or racist comments she has said behind closed doors and around children of color,” Joseph said.

However, Maxwell said in her apology statement that the video does not reflect her values regarding race or inclusivity.

“I take pride in creating a classroom environment that is welcoming and safe for all my students, regardless of their race,” Maxwell wrote in her statement. “I have always been and will continue to be passionately protective of my students’ well-being.”

Other parents say the behavior exhibited in the video is unacceptable, some even calling for the district to terminate it’s contract with Maxwell.

“We hope this person receives treatment for her emotional condition, but at the same time we hope that the district terminates its contract with this person and does not simply assign her to a different school,” said Maria Teresa Herrera, a former BCSD parent and BCSD volunteer.

Herrera served on multiple parent committees when her children attended BCSD, including the English Learner Parent committee and the Migrant Parent Council.

“It is an unacceptable situation,” said Herrera. “No parent should expose their child to being traumatized by an out-of-control teacher. A teacher inspires, encourages, motivates and gives confidence. Our children deserve respect and the best education possible.”

BCSD said in a statement released June 8 it is conducting an investigation into the incident.

The statement, signed by BCSD Superintendent Doc Ervin, said, “We do not condone nor endorse the action and behavior captured on the video.”

Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.