Teacher fired for defending student against bullies

An Arizona teacher was fired after she stood up to bullies who were tormenting a fourth grade student, calling him the n-word and using other derogatory language. Pam Aister was removed from her classroom at Four Peaks Elementary School after 24 years in the classroom.

The veteran teacher was defending nine-year-old Malachi Gillis from a group of boys who were calling Gillis “monkey” and “crackhead” and telling him “you belong in a zoo.”

Aister told ABC she stepped in and told the bullies, “If you pick on him, you’re picking on me.”

However, the bullies told their parents Aister told them to “shut up” and told one he had an “ugly face.” Parents of the bullies reported what they were told to the district, and on Monday Fountain Hills Unified School District officials voted 4-1 to terminate Aister.

“That makes me beyond mad because why is she being fired for something she is supposed to do?” Jennifer Gillis, Malachi’s mother said. “She’s supposed to be standing up for the students.”

Gillis’ family told CBS the abuse was so bad Malachi transferred to a different school. “They didn’t like it, so it turned into her threatening the kids because she stood up for this one black child in her class,” said Jennifer.

There is a petition on Change.org to have Aister reinstated, and as of Thursday morning, the petition had over 9,300 signatures.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals