Teacher accused of pelting student with dodgeball

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Lawrence Batiste sits inside his living room while talking to a reporter about being hit by a dodgeball.

A teacher in the La Porte ISD is under investigation after being accused of pelting a student with a dodgeball.

Lawrence Batiste is eight years old and is a third grader at College Park Elementary School in La Porte.

"I can hear you a little, but I can't hear you a lot," Batiste said.

Lawrence said he was playing in class when he was hurt.

"We were just playing dodgeball to knock down the cones and that's when he hit me."

Lawrence and his mother Loretta Houston claim a coach at College Park intentionally hit Lawrence in the face with a ball last week.

"I never would have thought a teacher would bust him in the face," Houston said.

Lawrence was checked out by a doctor for hearing loss in his left ear. Paperwork from the doctor said the hearing loss could last a week. Houston says the coach called her and admitted to throwing the ball at Lawrence. She also says she was told that her son targeted another student first and was asked to sit out as punishment.

"First he said, 'this is how it feels' and then he threw it and it hit me. He said 'how you think this feels'."

"He said I didn't know what hit me because my whole head was hurting. He said I went down and I sat down and he said the coach walked over there to me and said now you see how it feels to hit somebody in the face with the ball."

Houston filed a police report about what happened at school and would like the coach to be punished for getting physical with her son.

"I didn't feel that the apology from the school was sincere," Houston said.

The coach was not at school today. We spoke with the coach to get his side of the story. He did not want to discuss the incident. The case is under investigation by the Deer Park Police Department. No charges have been filed so far. La Porte ISD says the coach is on administrative leave with pay pending the investigation.

La Porte ISD released the following statement:
We were notified by the Deer Park Police Department that a parent has filed a complaint against a College Park Elementary teacher over an incident that occurred during a game in a scheduled physical education class on Feb. 8. The teacher is reported to have thrown at a student a foam-core ball (which is specifically designed for the game) in apparent anger.

Following the incident, which was inexcusable and unacceptable, the teacher contacted the parent to apologize the morning of Feb. 10. Disciplinary actions were taken by the district consistent with policy. Based on our understanding at the time, the district considered the matter closed.

On the afternoon of Feb. 10, the district was notified that a complaint had been filed with the Deer Park Police Department. Based on the preliminary investigation, the department informed the district that charges were likely forthcoming.

Yesterday afternoon, the police department contacted the principal for a video copy of the incident. We are cooperating fully with the police department, and the employee is on administrative leave with pay pending resolution.
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