A Mississippi special education teacher has been fired after video emerged of her dragging a special-needs student by the hair across a gymnasium floor, the Washington Post reports.
In the video, the teacher at Greenville High School can be seen pinning the girl down by her hair while another student pokes her, before grabbing the girl by her ponytail and dragging her away from an exit.
Another video shows the same student taking a thermos from the stands. The same teacher spots her and grabs the thermos away from her, hitting her on the head with it.
On Monday the Greenville Public School District announced that its board of trustees had fired the teacher, identified as Linda Winters-Johnson.
According to the Post, the Office of Educator Misconduct with the Mississippi Department of Education will be deciding next month whether Winters-Johnson will retain her special education teaching license after being accused of “physically grabbing, hitting in the head and dragging of a special-needs student during P.E. class at Greenville High School.”
In addition, Greenville Superintendent Leeson Taylor has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation into the incident, in order to facilitate an “unbiased” assessment.
“The board asks for the public’s patience as the investigation is conducted,” board President Loretta Shannon told the Delta Democrat-Times, according to CBS News. “We want to ensure that we have a complete picture and an unbiased assessment of what occurred before we take action. But the board is taking this matter very seriously.”
Greenville Mayor Errick D. Simmons released a statement saying that he was “deeply concerned” about the nature of the videos, adding that the district is taking “appropriate actions.”
“Oct. 6, 2016, the Mayor’s Office became aware of an incident that occurred between a teacher and a student at Greenville Public School District,” he said in the statement, the Clarion-Ledger reports. “The issue was one that raised concerns about staff professionalism and the safety and treatment of our students. As a parent of a student who attends Greenville High, I am deeply concerned like many of you.”
According to the Post, Greenville Police Chief Delando Wilson said that police were finishing up their investigation and waiting for a judge to set a probable cause hearing to determine any criminal charges.