SHAWNEE, Kan. - An elementary school teacher was caught on surveillance video apparently kicking a 5-year-old girl in the back in Kansas.
The teacher at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School in Shawnee is seen in the video talking with another adult as students file out of the library. The video shows the child refusing to line up with the other students and hiding in a bookshelf.
Next, the teacher is seen yanking the girl out of the bookshelf and walking away. She then returns, and when another staff member in the library turns away, the video shows the teacher kicking the child in the back.
The incident happened on February 21, according to KCTV, who spoke to the child's mother, who said she did not want to be identified.
Attorney Dan Zmijewski, who intends to file a civil lawsuit on behalf of the 5-year-old, said the child told at least one teacher what happened but nothing was done.
“Nobody did anything despite the fact that multiple adults in the school knew that something had happened,” Zmijewski said.
The child's mother said her daughter had a large red mark on her arm after school that day and said the teacher hit her. No one from the school initially contacted the mother about the incident, Zmijewski said.
The mother went to the school to find out what happened and recorded conversations with teachers and school staff, according to the attorney.
The mother also spoke to the teacher accused of hitting her child, who denied the claim, Zmijewski said.
The Shawnee Mission School District later reviewed the video and said it fired the teacher. Shawnee Mission district spokesman David Smith told the Kansas City Star that the district feels terrible about the situation.
“There was no question that we were going to do everything we could immediately to terminate that teacher and to look after that child,” Smith told the newspaper. “No child should have to experience that. It’s a horrible situation. We feel terrible about it and that person no longer works for us.”
Zmijewski said the girl is “terrified” to go back to the elementary school. Since the incident, he said the child is enrolled in a home-based education program through the district.
The incident was investigated by the Shawnee Police Department and the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the criminal case, according to the Kansas City Star.
“Has this happened before? I don’t know,” Zmijewski said. “I mean, who knows if it’s gone on before or not. We simply don’t know.”
The school district released the following statement regarding the incident:
“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 immediately remove the teacher from contact with students, and proceeded to terminate her as soon as the process would allow.”
This story was reported from Los Angeles.