A California teacher is begging for forgiveness after she was recorded on video threatening to kill a crying 8-year-old girl and her mother at a Bakersfield Black Lives Matter protest.
“I am humiliated by my actions,” Carrie Maxwell, a self-described “dedicated teacher” said in a public apology published by KGET on Monday.
“I am heartbroken to think that any of my students or their families might see that video and believe that it is in any way reflective of my values or views regarding race or inclusivity,” Maxwell wrote.
The video comes from Friday, when Maxwell verbally attacked an 8-year-old girl and her mother as they walked home from a Black Lives Matter protest in northwest Bakersfield. Maxwell contends she got no response from police when she complained about the loud gathering, and lashed out over concerns about her autistic son and elderly mother.
Erika Baze claims she started recording the video after Maxwell “jumped out” at her in a muumuu and began yelling at the two, scaring her daughter, Newsweek reports.
“Do not film my daughter!” Baze yelled as Maxwell also recorded the interaction.
“I’ll f**king kill you,” Maxwell responded as a shirtless man dragged her away.
“Do you see what you did to a child? Good job!” Baze yelled back as her daughter burst into tears.
“Get a job!” Maxwell countered.
“Really?” Baze questioned. “You just traumatized a child for walking. Look at this! Are you proud?”
Baze, her dauther and Maxwell are all white.
“She’s not killing anyone, babe,” Baze told the child.
“I’m scared!” the girl replied.
Baze posted a video of the altercation to Twitter, where it quickly amassed millions of views. Twitter users identified Maxwell and urged folks to call her principal at Wayside Elementary School to complain about the second grade teacher, Newsweek reports.
In a statement issued through her attorney on Monday, Maxwell claimed she reacted out of “anxiety, frustration and panic” when she confronted protesters to ask them to move away from her home.
“There was a woman who became confrontational and I responded in an inappropriate manner,” the statement read. “I never intended to cause fear. I never spoke to or threatened this woman’s daughter. I have never been in a physical altercation in my life.”
Maxwell’s attorney, Kyle Humphrey, told KGET his client “clearly made a bad choice,” but argued the back-and-forth that led up to the confrontation and Maxwell’s circumstances at home are important context.
“What you saw in that video was a captured moment of my anxiety, frustration, and panic for the safety of my family. I am the caretaker for my 18-year-old autistic son and my elderly mother who has COPD and is extremely vulnerable to health complications. I had seen news coverage of the protests turning into riots across the country and was aware that the protest near my home had turned to confrontation the day before. When I heard protesters gathering near my home, loudly chanting profanities, I became overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. I called the police and was told there was nothing they could do,” the statement read.
“I went out to ask the protesters to move the protest away from my home. This was not shown on the video that was posted.”
Maxwell contends she supports the protestors and strives to create “a classroom environment that is welcoming and safe for all of my students, regardless of their race.”
“I want to offer my sincerest apology to anyone who was hurt by my behavior in that video,” Maxwell wrote. “My behavior was never intended in any way to diminish this important time in the life of our country. Like everyone else, I was horrified by the video of the murder of George Floyd. Every man, woman, and child deserves 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.”
Baze is not accepting the apology, KGET reports.
“As much as I would like to accept an apology, I do not see this as a legitimate apology,” Baze wrote in a public response. “This is a press release from a lawyer that Ms. Maxwell has secured, full of excuses for Ms. Maxwell’s behavior. The lawyer sent the statement to every news station, but at no point in the statement was an apology directed at me or my daughter. This statement was issued days after the altercation, and only after her place of employment asked to speak with me and the news shared the video.”
Bakersfield Superintendent Doc Ervin issued a prepared statement to The Bakersfield Californian:
The Bakersfield City School District strives to be a model of inclusion and equity for our students, staff, families and community members. The District is aware of the incident that occurred on June 5, 2020 involving an employee. We do not condone nor endorse the action and behavior captured on the video. The District is currently conducting an investigation into the incident.