A professor at a community college in California was put on administrative leave after video surfaced showing him berating a hearing-impaired student during a virtual class session.
The video, posted in three parts to TikTok by another student in the class who witnessed the incident, captured Oxnard College's Professor Michael Abram as he launched into a rant full of biting rhetorical questions and attacks on the student's work ethic.
The first clip began just as Abram's gasket was set to blow. After clarifying that he was talking to the student, who uses a translation tool to understand everything the teacher has said, he began the uncomfortable taunting.
"You can hear me a little bit? Why didn't you answer me all the times I spoke to you then?"
"You know, thank you. Why don't we talk sometimes, why don't you email me. We'll set up a live Zoom and we're gonna have some real communication at some point in time."
"Okay, maybe you can have your counselor join us. Do you hear me? Okay, wonderful, DO THAT."
When another student jumped in to defend her classmate—explaining her translation need creates a slight delay in her comprehending what he's just said—Abram simply taunted her.
"She's not paying attention. She's not trying. Are you her translator Abigail?"
In the second clip, the tirade continued.
"Have your counselor speak to me because you've got too much distraction to even understand what's going on."
When the student responded that she did understand thanks to her translator, Abram fired back.
"Okay, then maybe just have them teach you the whole class, that makes sense to me."
"I don't know, I don't understand it. But I see you laughing and smiling and giggling with someone else, it doesn't seem to me like..."
The third clip showed the student questioning why Abram attacked her, to which he replied "I'm not attacking you, I'm just significantly disappointed."
And again, he told her to have her counselor speak with him.
Once the videos were posted, the outrage was widespread.
Luis Sanchez, the acting president of Oxnard College, condemned Professor Abram's behavior, according to ABC Southern California.
"The video itself is heartbreaking. No matter what led up to that interaction, there's no justification."
And during a press conference held by the Ventura Community College District, which includes Oxnard, Chancellor Greg Gillespie also denounced Abram's ableist comments.
"We're here to support our students in their academic journeys and their success. We do not tolerate discriminatory, rude or bullying behavior."
The internet was outraged by the incident.
TikTok viewers issued a deluge of criticism for the ableism.
e m i l y/TikTok
The growing backlash evetually lead the Ventura County Community College District to inititiate a full investigation into the incident and Abram's ongoing status as a professor with the college.
The Ventura County Community College District is deeply troubled by the behavior seen in a video posted on social m… https://t.co/2PKgfniaUC— Ventura County Community College District (@Ventura County Community College District) 1613787249.0
The proliferation of educators being caught acting poorly during virtual class sessions leaves one wondering just what has been going on behind closed classroom doors for so long before the pandemic pushed us all online.