TEMPE, Ariz. — A Tempe teacher caught berating a student on social media has officially resigned after being placed on administrative leave.
The Tempe Union High School District Governing Board approved James Gustafson's resignation "in lieu of dismissal" during their meeting Tuesday night. Gustafson was a teacher at Marcos de Niza High School.
The student in the video is 9th grader Maylah Moore. She and her parents say they couldn't believe a teacher would react this way.
"I was furious when I saw that," said Sandra Moore, Maylah's mother.
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"He got up all in my face started screaming and yelling, spitting," Maylah said after the incident.
In the video, which has been viewed millions of times, you can hear Gustafson say he did spit on her because that's how he talks.
Maylah said Gustafson would yell at students but had never seen anything like this.
"I feel like it wasn't just our class he was mad at, he just decided to bring his anger out on me," she said.
Students in class that day say Maylah was being "disrespectful" toward her teacher. She admitted to being on her phone during class.
"I remember I said like, 'Hold on I'm texting my dad for lunch money.' I think I had an attitude when I said that," she said.
"It still doesn't condone what he did," Sandra said. "[Students] are going to have attitudes. I don't think he should be teaching if he can't control himself."
State records show the Arizona State Board of Education found Gustafson had been arrested for DUI in 2017, and in 2018 'became frustrated' with students he was substitute teaching in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
The Associated Press reported Gustafson was arrested and accused of shoving students' faces into their desks.
Gustafson "grabbed four students by the backs of their necks to keep them in their seats," according to the State Board of Education's records. He did not face any criminal charges.
In 2019, the State Board of Education approved a settlement agreement stating that Gustafson had to complete a classroom management course, consent to a letter of censure and could be certified to teach physics.
The State Board of Education would not say whether they are opening any further investigations into Gustafson given this most recent incident.
12News has been unable to reach Gustafson for comment on this story.
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