Parents Cry Foul Over Bullying Kindergarten Teacher's Penalty

Teacher physically intimidates child and faces 10-day suspension

WTOL-TV
Bullying in schools is a common enough problem. One set of children intimidate others, sometimes using physical force. And teachers? They're supposed to prevent the problems if possible, intervene if necessary, and help children learn the art of living peaceably with one another.

What isn't so common is to see the teacher take on the role of bully as part of the job description. That is what allegedly happened in the Riverdale Schools in Hancock County, Ohio, according to a WTOL-TV report. A surveillance camera caught teacher Barb Williams apparently grab kindergartener Ian Nelson, lift him in the air, and then put him down and hold the 6-year-old by the face and shirt against a wall.

What really has set off the criticism, though, has been the school's reaction. Williams was suspended for ten days without pay but retains her job. The suspension time runs through the end of the school year. The sheriff's department has opened an investigation that could lead to criminal charges.

According to the WTOL report, Ian's father Anthony Nelson said that his son and Williams had not been getting along in class, but that the action was unwarranted.







"I put my trust in the education system to do education, not discipline," Nelson said. "Discipline? You call me. I can come to the school. I can take care of the situation. I can assess the situation and see how bad things are.

As the elder Nelson told WLBT-TV: "I would consider what would happen to myself, if I were to do that to her. If I were to do that to her, I would go to jail."

Nelson also told WLBT that he and his wife had complained about the teacher last November and asked to have their son moved to another class. The principal said that Williams was a "highly recommended teacher" and refused to transfer Ian.

Riverdale Schools Superintendent Eric Hoffman apologized to Ian's parents but stood by his decision to limit the punishment to the suspension in a conversation with WTOL.

"Anytime parents send us their children, we want to take care of them and it's unfortunate that it did happen, but after it happened we're dealing with it as we move through the process," he told the station in a video interview.

A family member of Williams said that the teacher has hired a lawyer.

A number of parents told WTOL that Williams is a "well-liked teacher" and some sent emails in support. But there were more emails "calling for her to be fired."

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epiphytum

For years I taught in public and private schools, kindergarten through grade twelve and one difficulty was being sure I gave attention to each student. They were so pleased to receive a comment that I made sure it was a nice one and they appreciated being patted on the back, literally. So many liked touching that we somehow came to shake hands often, but I did hug my children. They and I were very unhappy when later on in school systems, one decree was to not touch students. I have no idea what or who brought that about.
Staying in one location at the mercy of different kinds kinds of authorities, told when you could eat, go to the bathroom, speak and how to act can be tiring on children--or anyone. When my children needed compassion and/or comfort, I still gave it. No one ever lodged a complaint against me, thankfully.
Once a principal sent students to get me because a boy was threatening others with a knife. He gave it to me and began to sob; no one stopped me from holding him in my arms. He was 15 and his parents sent to a military school. Why not try counseling as a family? Well, none of my business. I've wished countless times that I had tried to speak with his parents, but I was 22 and reluctant for concern that I might say the wrong thing to all these people so much older than I and make matters worse for that troubled child.
I'm so relieved to be retired now many years later. Why do so many choose teaching when they obviously do not even like, much less love our children?

May 28 2014 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aspegne

I work with the school system. You write the kid up. Eventually, they may get expelled. There is no reason to lay a hand on them unless it has to do with self defense, and then you only need to restrain them. This is uncalled for.

May 23 2014 at 2:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Sheri S

This teacher's behavior is uncalled for no matter what was going on with that little boy. His father is correct...if HE did that to this teacher, they school would have him arrested, yet she is suspended for 10 days?!?!! I don't care what he did (or didn't do) to make this teacher so upset. Teachers should not behave this way! Some teachers lack compassion, patience and understanding and if there was a behavior problem with this little boy, he should have been taken to the office and his parents should have been called and the matter discussed with them in person. A teacher should NEVER put hands on a student in this manner. My kids are 15 & 19 and I would be extremely upset no matter what their age if this was done to either of them. She NEEDS to be fired and charges brought against her and she should NOT teach ANYWHERE!!! Find a different profession - maybe getting physical in a ring somewhere!

May 19 2014 at 9:17 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Joy Woodard

What did this child do to make the teacher so upset? Has the child been warned of bad behavior before? Is this child being disciplined at home for bad behavior, or do the parents allow their child to do as he pleases? The teacher should have contacted his parents, or would they have disciplined the child at all? Who really knows what goes on with the up bringing of these children in todays society?? It's a parents job to discipline their children..

May 19 2014 at 12:30 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joy Woodard's comment
Shep

was wondering the same...

May 19 2014 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cagg1986

There is absolutely no excuse for this behavior against any child, by any adult. But to have it done by a teacher where you believe your child is in a "protected" environment is completely wrong. She should not retain her job. End of story.

May 18 2014 at 10:49 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Lyn Osorio

The parents should hire a very good attorney and press charges against the teacher. Whatever charges that would apply to their state for this incident and they should also sue the teacher, the principal and the school system, sue all three individually this way they can really feel it. Let's do role reversal. If Ian had been 16 and he had done everything to his teacher that she had done to him I can guarantee you that he would have had more than a suspension done to him. He would have had criminal charges bought against him and he would have been kicked out of the school. I hope that the parents of this little boy do not give up and do not stop until that teacher is fired. Sometimes you have to set precedence so others who work there will know that if they try this then they could be fired, sued and arrested as well. I just thought of something, I think that his parents should get child protection involved, they are supposed to be advocates for children. That teacher the principal and that school system needs to be held accountable and that little slap on the hand that that cow of a teacher received isn't enough.

May 18 2014 at 6:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lyn Osorio's comment
Shep

I agree with firing and possibly charges pressed... but sued? for what? all that suing would do is hurt that school, its teachers, and all the children attending. not that would win anything anyway. what monetary value would be put on grabbing a kid and yelling. Not defending her, i think her actions were despicable and would have made more sense if she were the 6 yr old. But I am tired of people crying "sue" every time something happens. if this is the worst that happens to this boy then he is fortunate. I am sure he is no angel.

May 19 2014 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anonymous

This is not bullying it is a physical assault. Why wasn't she arrested, charged with a crime, convicted and sent to do time behind bars for this???

May 18 2014 at 3:38 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Rae

Sorry guys i have got to be honest here , if she had done this to my child i would be going to jail. i know you don't/shouldn't handle violence with violence but, i would kick her a##.. I couldn't turn the other cheek. Second thought i'm not sorry. Kids are kids, they need discipline.......but not this way.

May 17 2014 at 10:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
elaine1975

There have been jerk teachers since the beginning of time. We had them back in the 70's. We also had DISCIPLINE back in the 70's. Jerk teacher in the 70's -- lost temper, slapped kids -- I don't think anything was ever done to him. Discipline teachers in the 70's -- told kid to stop (insert bad behavior). If that didn't work, he gave a second warning. If that didn't work he marched the kid outside the door and got the BOARD OF EDUCATION (a wooden paddle) and gave him a swat on the ass. And before everyone gets all up in arms about "oh that's terrible!!" ... no, it wasn't. The kid had at least two chances to stop talking or goofing off (and by the way we're talking about 7th, 8th graders, not little kids). And going outside the room to get a swat with the paddle didn't INJURE the kid ... just embarassed them a bit. Class of 1975

May 17 2014 at 8:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to elaine1975's comment
wlh1923

Loved the father's explanation. His son "had not been getting along with the teacher". Indeed!!! Rotten feral, little brat probably disrupted class every chance he could. Never learned the concept of respect at home and certainly didn't know how to behave in class. Teacher was probably at the end of her rope with this rotten, feral little brat.

There was a time when U.S. schools had discipline. Kids acted up or acted in a disrespectful fashion to the teacher they got paddled, slapped OR sent to the principal's office where they got paddled. Didn't take too many incidents for even the most feral of all brats to learn how to act and how not to act. Class went smoothly and kids actually learned something. When we went to school in the 50's and 60's and got paddled or disciplined the very LAST thing we did was tell our parents about it, because we would get it FAR worse at home for our school misbehavior. We could only hope that our parents never found out about our misbehavior at school, because we'd really get it then.

May 17 2014 at 9:45 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to wlh1923's comment
GregG

Retired teacher here. She needs to go. Fire her.

May 17 2014 at 7:24 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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