NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The family of a Nashville teacher suspended last week following a violent classroom outburst spoke publicly for the first time Monday.
Donald Brian Wood, an eleventh grade math teacher at McGavock High School, remains at Vanderbilt University Medical Center following the tirade last Friday morning.
In student cell phone video posted on YouTube, the 46-year-old father of five is shown tossing tables and slamming chairs.
Students first laugh then later run from his classroom screaming.
School resource officers subdued Wood and he was later removed from the school on a stretcher.
Monday, Wood's sister and a teacher herself, defended her brother, who suffered what she called a "nervous breakdown."
"Me, my younger brother Jonathan and his wife Kim were with him on Saturday, got to spend a couple of hours with him," Leanne Smith said. "He is aware of what happened."
Smith said her brother "expressed passion and love for teaching" and "concern for his students."
"I talked to him about some of the commentary on YouTube that did not blame him but felt for him and he was deeply comforted by that," Smith continued.
McGavock's principal has said "Wood had nothing in his seven year record at McGavock or 17 years in Metro to indicate the behavior shown Friday."
He said Monday that Wood gave students the okay to use cell phones to record classroom material.
The principal added that "counselors have talked to the students in the class since Friday and will be there as long as needed."
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Smith said what caused her brother's nervous breakdown was not yet known.
"Whether it was stressful work conditions, student behavioral disrespect, or a medical condition (of which there has been no previous manifestation) that contributed to Brian's behavior remains to be determined," the statement read, in part.
Smith added the family is thankful no one was physically harmed in Friday's incident.
"He is, all of us, are deeply grateful that his irrational behavior did not cause any harm to anyone," she said.
Smith said she did not discuss with her brother about teaching again at McGavock.
School board officials may determine that for him as their investigation continues.