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Fri June 15, 2012
Anti-Bullying Case: Students Ordered To Hit 6-Year-Old, Police Say
A kindergarten teacher who allegedly forced students to strike a boy accused of being a bully will lose her job, according to the suburban San Antonio school district where officials say the actions took place. According to reports, as many as 24 students were ordered to strike the boy.
The teacher had reportedly been asked by a colleague at Salinas Elementary about the best way to discipline six-year-old Aiden Neely, after "other students had perceived the boy as being a bully," according to the AP. That resulted in the boy being sat down in a chair, to allow students to file past and hit him.
Citing a Judson Independent School District police report, The San Antonio Express-News reports that "the second teacher took Aiden into her kindergarten classroom and told her students to hit him in order to 'teach him why bullying is bad, instructing them to 'Hit him!' and 'Hit him harder.'"
The incident allegedly took place last month; the story emerged this week as the boy's parents spoke out, and the police report of the incident was submitted to the county district attorney.
And all of the facts are not yet clear: While the police report suggests that the slaps were halted after six or seven children struck Aiden, the boy's mother says her son told her he was hit by all 24 students.
Aiden's mother, Amy Neely, tells the Express-News that her son "had friends in that class and some of his friends didn't want to hit him but the other teacher told them to." Citing police, the paper reports that "many of the students involved said they were too afraid not to hit Aiden."
Neither teacher has been identified; both were placed on paid administrative leave on May 18 — apparently after the first teacher reported the incident, two weeks after it occurred. She will be eligible to return to the classroom this fall. The second teacher, who organized the incident, will not be allowed to work for the school district, officials say.
"This kind of activity just can't go on," district spokesman Steve Linscomb tells KHOU TV. "This teacher is a relatively young teacher and just needed to be re-educated and reminded what needs to happen in the classroom in order for it to be a safe learning environment."
Young Aiden evidently admitted to his mother that he had been acting up in line before he was taken into the other classroom and punished. But she says that neither the school nor the teachers ever informed her of any problems with his behavior.
Amy Neely is calling for criminal charges against the teacher who incited the slapping.
"For the one who did it, I want her teacher certificate gone," Neely tells San Antonio's FOX 29 TV. "I don't think she should be able to be around any children, in any capacity."