Frank J. Rybicki, assistant professor of mass media at Valdosta State University, shut the laptop of a student who was allegedly web surfing as opposed to taking notes. She filed a complaint (reportedly about a finger or fingers that were hurt when he shut the laptop) and the university's police arrested him on a charge of battery. The Georgia institution suspended his teaching duties there, although not his pay. Reached on the phone, Rybicki confirmed his arrest and suspension, and said that he had been told by the university not to answer questions about the incident. He did say that the article and comments in the student newspaper, The Spectator, were accurate. That article quoted students who saw the incident as saying that Rybicki closed the laptop amid an argument with the student over his view that she had been on websites not related to the course.
In this situation, both the student and the professor acted in a very unintelligent way. The student is obviously an idiot who has no interest in getting an education. There are students who are so behind in class that they have no idea what's going on. They can't participate or contribute anything to the discussions, which makes them feel stupid. In order to save face, they hide behind their cell-phones, laptops and iPods. I have a students like that who always have their iPhones at the ready in case I give out an assignment they cannot complete, or often even understand.
The professor in this situation showed himself to be as unintelligent as the student. What's the point of jeopardizing one's career for the sake of a student who has no interest in learning? You can't force a person to learn against their will. You can take away all their gadgets and chain them to the desk. And they still will not learn.
In my teaching, I made a decision a long time ago to concentrate on those students who do want to learn and forget about the snoring, web-surfing, texting losers. They are destroying their own chances at getting educated. Why should I care about that or about anything in their sorry lives? I actually prefer that such students sit there with their noses stuck into their laptops and iPhones instead of distracting the entire class with stupid jokes and idiotic comments. I wish that Professor Rybicki had done the same instead of putting his entire career at risk for the sake of a silly hope that a stupid, ignorant student can be redeemed.