Lawsuit filed over teacher beating

May 14, 2010 4:52:37 AM PDT
Cell phone video showing a teacher at a local charter school kicking, punching and slapping a student is hard to forget. Now the boy's mother is taking action, and so are state and local authorities. The incident took place on April 29. The child's mother filed a complaint with the Harris County Sheriff's office just four days ago. Now with a sworn statement from the child, the official criminal investigation can begin. In addition, the state's education agency is launching its own probe.

It's the video that's launched a criminal investigation against the now-fired teacher striking a student and a Texas Education Agency investigation of Jamie's House Charter School. It's also a reminder of what 13-year-old Isaiah Reagins, the 8th grader on the receiving end of the kicks and slaps, went through two weeks ago.

"Sad, because I didn't think she was going to hit me like that," Isaiah said.

The boy and his mother were to give a sworn statement Thursday to Harris County juvenile detectives about the incident and turn over a copy of the cell phone video taken by another student. In addition, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the family against the teacher, Shari Lynn Davis, and the charter school, alleging abuse and gross negligence.

Attorney Brant Stogner said, "This came at the hand of the very person who is charged with taking care of Isaiah. That person failed Isaiah. That school failed Isaiah."

The incident happened during a party celebrating the completion of TAKS testing. Isaiah is accused of teasing a learning disabled student. The family's attorney believes several teachers and staff members witnessed the confrontation, but failed to report it. A school spokesperson says it's identified only one.

But for Isaiah's mother, Alesha Johnson, it comes down to this.

She said, "By you putting your hands on my child, it's not punishment. I don't even beat on my son, so what makes you think you can?"

We are told by a school spokesperson that the school's classrooms do have surveillance cameras, but that the video is deleted at the end of the month and that's what happened in this case. It was deleted three days before the mother went to the school requesting an investigation.

The Texas Education Agency has opened its own investigation into Jamie's House Charter School. Officials are looking into several incidents at the school, including the beating video. The agency says it's concerned about the welfare and safety of the school's students. Jamie's House has been cited in the past for noncompliance in its special education program -- including problems with teacher certification and participation in the TAKS test.


Load Comments