DETROIT – Tiffani Eaton has been reinstated as a teacher at Pershing High School after she was initially fired for breaking up a fight between students with a broom.
"We appreciate that the EAA acknowledges that their previous action was wrong and we are in good faith discussions with the school district to bring this matter to a resolution," said Eaton's attorney Jeffrey Lance in a statement. "Once that has occurred, Ms. Eaton will be available for comment."
The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan announced the decision on Tuesday morning. Eaton will receive retro pay from the date of her dismissal.
Here is the EAA's statement:
"Immediately following the incident that occurred at Pershing High School on April 30th, the EAA contacted the Michigan Department of Human Services, Office of Family Advocate, and requested that an independent third-party investigation be conducted. Upon review of information gathered during the course of this investigation, the EAA has subsequently reinstated Ms. Eaton, effective immediately. Ms. Eaton will receive full retroactive pay from the date of her termination, and will also be afforded the opportunity to transfer to another school building within the District, if she so desires. The safety and security of all students and staff is the EAA's primary concern. We therefore, remain committed to ensuring that all safety protocols and procedures are properly followed throughout the District."
If she prefers, Eaton can also choose to be assigned to another building within the district.
Eaton said she used a broom to break up a student fight because she wasn't strong enough to do so on her own. The fight broke out between two students over a designer belt.
When Local 4 spoke with Eaton in her first interview she defended her decision to intervene in the fight.
"I thought quickly in (the) atmosphere," Eaton said. She said that school leaders called her into their office after the incident, showed her the video and fired her on the spot. In her mind the decision was too hasty.
"I thought the matter needed more investigating," Eaton said. "(They) never asked my side of the story."
Eaton's reinstatement comes after she was defended by many, including the school principal.
"First, Ms. Eaton should never have been fired. Period," the principal's statement said. "I am asking EAA administration to reverse path. Our teachers at Pershing High and at all other schools are called upon to be the impossible every day: counselor, security guard, teacher and more."
Insiders say typically Detroit police would be called for a fight as violent as the one in Eaton's classroom.
"It's kind of scary because anybody could have got hurt. It was an assault and I feel as though if the teacher got fired then the boys should be charged with like assault and battery or something," said Latanya Hall, whose daughter was in the class when the fight broke out.
Stay tuned to clickonDetroit.com for more updates on Eaton's return to the classroom.