KLTV obtained a video that is circulating on Facebook that shows a John Tyler High School student striking a teacher and knocking her to the ground. The video was taken by another student with a cell phone around 1:45 p.m. on Friday.
The video, which we first reported Friday at 10 p.m., has been circulation Facebook and although it does capture a good portion of this physical altercation, it does bring up several questions.
Tyler ISD's Superintendent Gary Mooring said based on a preliminary investigation, it looks like horseplay in the classroom between a female teacher and a male student escalated and ended up with the teacher on the classroom floor.
We have included the cell phone video, but have blurred all of the faces to shield the identities of the other minor students in the room, and for now, the teacher who was hit and the student who hit her.
Mooring said the video is now part of their investigation.
"A teacher initiated horseplay, physical horseplay," Mooring said.
"She started with me. She came up and started messing with me," the student told KLTV.
The students' mother said her son is allowed to wear a hat in class because of scars on his head. Tyler ISD confirmed this.
"The teacher had snapped his hat off his head and tossed it to a student and they went to playing with it, tossing it back and forth. She had no right to play with him because you don't play with kids because kids play. Grown folk don't play and you are the teacher. You are the head of the classroom. You should have immediately stopped it," said the student's mother.
But it did not stop.
"She ripped my shirt, then I backed up and she just slapped me hard. So, then she started trying to run and I had pushed her and she had hit the desk and she had fell to the ground," the student explained.
"When I made it up there to the school, my son had an ice pack on his face because she had slapped him that hard," said the student's mother.
The district said the teacher has not reported any serious injuries.
"She is fine at this point in time as far as we know. She was not knocked out or unconscious," Mooring said.
Mooring said the principals are interviewing witnesses and then they will hand it over to the district's police department.
"We are taking action immediately. I feel like this will be concluded very quickly," Mooring said.
Meanwhile, Mooring said the teacher is on paid administrative leave and the student has been suspended three days pending further investigation.
The student's mother said she thinks both should be punished.
"I'm not saying my son was in the right because he solely was not in the right. He was not in the right for even putting his hands on her, but if she started it, I believe both of them should be punished, both of them," she said.
KLTV has received some Facebook comments with people thinking three days suspension is pretty light for the student considering what they saw in the video.
Superintendent Mooring said that suspension is the initial step in the investigation and the teacher and student could face more serious consequences.
Mooring said he cannot release the disciplinary history of students and is unsure how long the teacher has been with the district. However, he does hope to have this investigation wrapped up by the beginning of next week.
Tyler ISD released the following statement Saturday morning:
Incident at John Tyler High School Campus
Tyler – Tyler ISD officials are investigating an incident that occurred at John Tyler High School on Friday, April 19 at approximately 1:45 p.m. Based on preliminary investigation, a male student and teacher were involved in teacher initiated horseplay in a classroom that escalated into an altercation. The teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave and the student has been suspended for three days pending further investigation.
"Our priority is to provide our students and staff with a safe and secure learning environment. We take discipline issues very seriously," said Gary Mooring, Superintendent of Schools. "We are currently investigating this incident to determine not only what happened, but also how we can improve classroom safety."
The administration and police department will continue to investigate the situation and follow District policy in regards to further discipline actions.
Contrary to earlier media reports the teacher was not knocked unconscious. There were no other Tyler ISD students or staff involved in the incident.
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