A Texas teacher will lose her job after ordering more than 20 kindergartners to line up and hit a classmate accused of being a bully, a district spokesman said Friday.
The teacher at a suburban San Antonio school is accused of orchestrating the slugfest after a younger teaching colleague went to her last month seeking suggestions on how to discipline the 6-year-old, according to a police report from the Judson Independent School District.
Both teachers at Salinas Elementary were placed on paid administrative leave, though the one who allegedly arranged the punishment will not work for the district next school year, said district spokesman Steve Linscomb. Prosecutors are reviewing the allegations and will determine whether formal charges will be filed in 30 to 60 days.
The police report alleges the teacher chose to show the child "why bullying is bad" by instructing his peers to "Hit him!" and "Hit him harder!" It also states that the second teacher intervened only after one of the children hit the boy hard on his upper back.
"Twenty-four of those kids hit him and he said that most of them hit him twice," Amy Neely, the mother of 6-year-old Aiden, told KENS-TV. She did not specify what injuries her son may have received.
Neely said her son is not a problem child and that this was the first she'd heard of teachers having issues with him. She said she wants to make sure the teacher who ordered the hitting does not work in a classroom again.
"She doesn't need to be around any children," Neely told the television station.
The mother added — and the police report confirmed — that some of Aiden's classroom friends told him they didn't want to hit the boy but did so because they were afraid not to.
She said she learned about what happened to her son after a teacher who witnessed the incident and intervened went on to report it two weeks later. Linscomb said Neely filed an official oppression complaint against the teachers with the district police department earlier this week.
A message left by The Associated Press with Neely was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.
Linscomb said other students had perceived the boy as being a bully. That's when the teacher went with her students to a nearby classroom and sought disciplinary advice from her colleague, he said.
The district placed both teachers on paid administrative leave and launched an investigation on May 18. District officials have not released the names of either teacher. The one who asked for help disciplining the boy and then waited to report the incident after witnessing it was reprimanded.
"We can't have teachers acting like a loose cannon," Linscomb said of the teacher who orchestrated the hitting incident. "Doing something that's this far off the charts, doing what they feel like is teaching (students) a lesson; we're not going to tolerate that."