Florida special needs teacher suspended after racist, ableist tirade, ‘Your son is a r*****’
A Florida special needs teacher has been placed on leave after a video surfaced showing her screaming racial slurs and insults at a mother and her children allegedly trespassing in her neighborhood.
“You’re white trash!” teacher Patricia Schmidt yells at the mom. “Are those your mulatto kids? Did you have sex with a black guy? Your kids are half-breeds. Look at them.”
Schmidt works with special needs students in the Collier County School District. However, in her neighborhood, she is infamous for her nosy, rude, and intrusive behavior, which earned her the moniker “Kings Lake Karen.”
Schmidt reportedly drove past a mother and her children walking near a residents-only area but were still on public property and stopped her Mercedes to hail them.
“She blares on her horn for like ten seconds, rolls her window down, and starts yelling out the window that we can’t walk down that pathway,” the mom said in an interview. “Did you pay for that path? You can’t afford to live in Kings Lake. You’re white trash!”
Despite her profession to care for and educate children with special needs, she did not hesitate to use ableist slurs against the alleged trespassers.
“Your son must be special-ed,” she said to the mother. “He’s a r**ard. Your son is a r**ard.”
The mother expressed anger and concern not only for her own children but also for the children Schmidt works with every day. “Who knows how she’s treating them in the classroom when their parents aren’t there to defend them?” she said.
Schmidt’s offensive behavior comes as no surprise to her neighbors, however. The teacher’s property is covered with flags and signs saying “no trespassing” and featuring profanities and graphics of the middle finger. She also sports multiple surveillance camera warnings.
The incident being investigated is not Schmidt’s first run-in with the police. She was arrested in 2002 on charges of punching a bouncer in the face and giving him a knee to the groin. She was then accused in spring 2019 of inappropriately restraining a student with special needs.
There is an independent change.org petition circulating to revoke her teaching certificate and remove her from employment in the district.
The petition states, “Racism in our schools and our community will not be tolerated. We demand she be immediately terminated with no possibility of rehire anywhere in the county.”
Michelle Edelman McCormick, the mom who launched the change.org petition, stated, “She doesn’t need to be around children. Period.”
Schmidt was placed on administrative leave following the incident, and an internal investigation is being conducted.
UPDATE: The district has fired Schmidt. The Collier County School District told Independent Chronicle Thursday afternoon, “The destructive comments of Ms. Schmidt do not reflect the 7,000 talented, dedicated, and hardworking employees of Collier County Public Schools (CCPS). Accordingly, she is no longer employed by CCPS. The video and the corresponding CCPS review have already been sent to The Florida Department of Education Office of Professional Practices Services.”