A Snook, Texas, Independent School District behavior specialist was fired after video footage showing him pushing a young black student went viral, KVUE reports.
According to the report, the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office has also launched an investigation into the incident.
The employee, identified as Troy Vann, can be seen in the video pushing the prekindergarten student into a beanbag, before forcing the child to his feet and doing it again, punctuating the action by pushing the child’s head back into the beanbag.
“Tell me no. When I tell you to do something, you do it, boy,” the employee is heard saying as he pushes the child’s head.
According to the report, Snook ISD released a statement Saturday morning announcing that Vann, who is white, was no longer employed with the school district.
“The actions of the employee are upsetting and alarming to the Snook ISD administrators and trustees. The actions depicted in the video are not condoned or authorized in any way by the school,” the statement said. “Snook ISD is working with law enforcement and the Texas Education Agency in investigating this matter.”
“I was in disbelief because I had a phone call from the school saying it was a video, but it was nothing to worry about, they were just trying to get him to sit down,” Jessica Boson, the mother of the child, told the news station. “And then when I seen the actual video, tears flooded my eyes.”
Boson said Vann called her and suggested that her parenting was to blame.
The 29-second video was recorded by eighth-grade student Exzavier Williams, who was also in the “cool down” room Thursday morning when the incident took place.
Exzavier said that he started recording because of how upset the employee was getting, and that the pushing had gone on for a few minutes before he got his phone’s camera to work.
After grabbing some video, he said he tried to distract Vann, asking if he could call his mother. According to Exzavier, when he got on the phone with his mom, she heard Vann screaming from the hallway.
Exzavier’s mom, Stacy Williams, said she encouraged her son to get another adult while she called the principal, Kenzie Bond, to explain what was happening.
“Exzavier calls me a bit later and says that she [Principal Bond] erased the video,” Williams said.
According to the report, Bond acknowledged erasing the video, saying it was done to protect the child’s identity. Snook ISD Superintendent Brena Krchnack told KVUE that Bond did forward the video to herself before sending it to Krchnak as well.
Exzavier said that Bond did not ask whether she could send the video to herself or if she could erase it.
However, the 14-year-old said, he had already sent a copy of the video to another phone, explaining that he did not trust school officials, KVUE reports.
Stacy Williams then posted the video to her Facebook page in hopes of finding the little boy’s mother, horrified not only by Vann’s actions but also by his words.
“It’s not the first time,” Williams said. “They use that word ‘boy,’ you know, and if they want to call it because he’s young, that’s not right. We have names for our children. You give them a name and you call them by their name; you don’t call them ‘boy.’”
Both Williams and Boson said they plan to remove their sons from the school district.
Read more at KVUE.