A group of Columbus students almost cost an educator her life with a thoughtless prank.
The three students were middle-schoolers at Starling K-8 between the ages of 12 and 13. The students called themselves “pranking” the teacher during lunchtime back in November 2018 by smearing banana peels on the teachers’ door and doorknob. The students also began to throw bananas at her while she sat in her classroom, according to reports.
The students were well aware of the teachers deadly food allergy and chose to act on it anyway. The teacher’s classroom door had a “Banana Free Zone” sign that warns students to wash their hands if they come in contact with the fruit.
“All of the kids know she’s deathly allergic to bananas,” a security officer told the police. “If it touches her, she will go into anaphylactic shock.”
According to the school security officer, the unidentified teacher did, in fact, go into anaphylactic shock within 15 minutes of the incident.
“She starts to change colors,” said the security staffer. “They gave her one epipen; It wasn’t working. They gave her another epipen (and) her throat was starting to close up.”
The officer reported that she was administered two EpiPens and was rushed to the hospital where she later recovered.
The so-called prank was uncovered by the ABC 6’s Scoring Our Schools team as they continue looking into the fight for better working conditions for Columbus City School teachers, and educator complaints about safety at schools.
The team pulled the police reports of the assault case and went to each address for the three young offenders, who were all sentenced to probation through juvenile court. One address turned out to be a foster home. When asked if teachers should be fearful going into work, the mother of another student responded that she knows conditions are tough, but also feels some teachers don’t care about the students.
The Columbus Police Department said felony assaults on teachers were on the rise in 2019, with more than 30 cases documented since January. Officers responded to 65 felony assaults on city school campuses in 2017, which was nearly three times the amount of assaults from the year before.
The teacher’s union, Columbus Education Association, has yet to reach a new contract with Columbus City Schools administration. Teachers say they are fighting for better working conditions and alternative plans to discipline or wrap-around services for troubled kids.