A Kansas teacher has been fired and is now facing legal action after she grabbed a 5-year-old student out of a bookshelf and allegedly kicked her in the back.
Crystal Smith, who was in her first year as a teacher at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary school, was placed on leave after the girl’s mother notified school officials about the incident on Feb. 21.
The incident, which was caught on video surveillance, showed Smith yanking the girl out of a bookshelf in the library then walking away. The child was still on the ground when Smith returned. She could be seen waiting until another teacher turns away before she allegedly kicked the young girl in the back.
The girl’s mother, whose identity was not revealed, told KCTV 5 that she first learned about the incident when she picked up her daughter from school. Her daughter told her, “I don’t like my teacher. She’s really mean. She hit me on my arm.”
A mother says an elementary school teacher grabbed and kicked her 5-year-old daughter and when her daughter told a teacher about it, she says the school did nothing.
After examining her arms and finding red marks, the mother called the school principal but was not able to get through.
She later went back to the school to find out what happened and learned that her daughter had already told another teacher about the incident, but the teacher did nothing to help.
The mother started making recordings of conversations she was having with teachers as she probed the incident further. She managed to talk to Smith, who said her daughter received the red marks from shoving herself into the bookshelf.
“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…” Smith told the mother, according to the recording.
The mother was not sure about the story and decided to push further, discovering that there may be a video of the incident. When the school confirmed that there was, she had to wait another week to see it.
“When I saw the video 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. She was almost really convincing,” the mother told KCTV 5.
Smith was officially terminated from the school on March 25. The school district also issued a statement about the incident, reported Mail Online.
“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,” the statement said.
According to the Kansas City Star, an attorney is planning to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the 5-year-old against the teacher.
A report from the police department indicates the attack, which was captured on video, took place Feb. 21.
Attorney Dan Zmijewski told the news website that the girl was traumatized after the incident and was “terrified of going back to that school.”
She is now enrolled in a “home bound plan” through the district, the news website reported.