Texas substitute teacher seen in video beating student, charged with assault
A substitute teacher was fired and faces an assault charge after being caught on video beating a 16-year-old student in a Texas high school classroom, authorities said.
Video posted to Twitter shows the substitute punching the student in the face and stomping on her head at Lehman High School in Kyle, just south of Austin:
The student was released to her father, who took her to a local hospital for evaluation, the Hays County sheriff’s office said.
The teacher, 32-year-old Tiffani Shadell Lankford, was arrested after Hays County deputies interviewed several students and reviewed several videos, the sheriff’s office said. Lankford is charged with aggravated assault.
Lankford was fired, and her actions will be reported to the Texas Education Agency, said the high school’s principal, Karen Zuniga.
“Under no circumstance is that behavior tolerated at Lehman High School or in Hays CISD,” Zuniga wrote in a statement that was shared on the school’s Facebook page. “We take the safety and security of our students seriously. We took swift action when this incident occurred, and will do everything necessary to protect our students.”
According to a statement from the school district, Lankford had undergone orientation training on Aug. 30 and began teaching in the district on Sept. 13. She had worked in a district classroom 18 times, including on Friday.
Paul Batrice, who is representing the family of the student, released a statement acknowledging that the student was in special education classes.
He said the family was “shocked and disgusted after seeing the abuse and excessive force used in this teacher’s attempt to discipline a special needs child. There is no excuse for this type of behavior.”
He added that “the child is currently being treated for the severe injuries she sustained from this attack, and her family and loved ones are close by.”
“All parents, myself included, should be deeply disturbed by the facts surrounding this abuse ...” Batrice said in the statement. “This is unacceptable to say the least, and we will demand justice to the fullest extent of the law to enact the change so obviously necessary.”