SHAWNEE, Kan. (CBS News) — A Kansas teacher who was caught on camera kicking a 5-year-old girl at school has been fired, CBS affiliate KCTV reports. The February incident gained widespread attention last week when surveillance video was released, showing the elementary school teacher grab and kick a student while she lay on the ground.
The Shawnee Mission School District fired the teacher, who worked at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School. The district issued the following statement to KCTV:
“The Shawnee Mission School District was deeply distressed by the actions shown in the video. We take our responsibility to keep our children safe extremely seriously, and as parents and educators, we are heartbroken whenever a child is not treated with love and respect. As soon as we discovered what happened, we acted to remove the teacher from contact with students, and proceeded immediately to terminate that teacher.”
CBS News has also reached out to the district for more information.
Even though the teacher has now been terminated, the mother of the child said the school did not immediately take action.
The mother, who does not want to be identified, told KCTV that the only reason she knows about the incident is that her daughter – not the school – told her about it. And she said video evidence proves that the teacher’s account of what happened was a lie.
The mother said when she picked up her daughter from school on February 21, she asked how her day went. Her daughter responded, “I don’t like my teacher. She’s really mean. She hit me on my arm.” The girl had large red marks on her arm, and the mother tried to call the school principal about it, but couldn’t get through, she said. She learned her daughter had actually already told another teacher she’d been hit but nothing was done, KCTV reports.
The mother decided to start recording her phone calls with the school. During one call obtained by KCTV, the principal says, “[The child] did mention to me, ‘My teacher, like hit me.’ I asked her what happened and she said she touched her on her arm but I wasn’t there so I’m not sure what happened.”
In the mother’s recorded conversation with the teacher, the teacher tries to blame the student for the red marks on her arm, saying:
“So, I’m not surprised she has some marks on her. She was crawling in the bookshelf. She has a red spot on her arm. And I’m not surprised because she shoved herself into that bookshelf…I mean, she kicked me a couple of times. She was reaching over into the bookshelf pulling books out and there were those metal, metal book divider things … I said don’t we can’t do that. So I put myself kind of standing around her so that if she does throw something she wouldn’t break something…”
The video, however, shows something different. After the girl refused to get in line with the rest of her class, she crawls into a bookshelf while the rest of her class leaves the library. That’s when the teacher grabs her by the arm, drags her out, and when no one is looking, kicks her in the back.
After seeing what happened in the video, the mother said it was “heartbreaking, because everything she said, she sat at the same table as me and just lied about everything… she lied to me. She lied to everyone else.”
“I can’t really even put it into words,” the mother told KCTV. “I hurt for my child, and I was just angry that someone could do that,” the mother said. She is now worried for other students’ safety, she said.
The teacher was originally put on leave pending the investigation, and she was terminated on March 25, the mother said.