TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) – The Trumann School District told Region 8 News Wednesday that a substitute teacher will no longer be needed this year after a claim surfaced that she struck a child.
According to Superintendent Joe Waleszonia, Vicki Terrell was attempting to control her 4th grade class shortly before school ended Tuesday. He said she was trying to tell a group of students to behave when she made contact with a male child.
"We just kind of got her side of the story and the parent had brought the child in after school and talked to that child and I'm sure she interviewed some children and witnesses and anybody that might have seen anything that occurred," said Waleszonia.
Waleszonia said the incident happened at Cedar Park Elementary. He said the principal made investigated the incident and interviewed Terrell, the boy and the boy's parents.
"She ascertained that there was some contact made with a substitute teacher on a child's arm," said Waleszonia.
Terrell contacted Region 8 News Wednesday afternoon. She said she was subbing from 11:20 to 3:00 Tuesday. She said as a substitute, children don't tend to listen and don't do their work. She said two students were misbehaving near the end of class. When the children didn't listen to her instruction, she placed her hand on the child's shoulder. She said the child then started to cry.
"One side is that it was a tap and the other side is it was a hit," said Waleszonia.
Terrell, who was in her third year of substituting, said she was sorry parents took it the wrong way. Terrell said she was trying to get the kids under control and safe from themselves.
Waleszonia said Terrell will no longer be subbing for the Trumann School District, however, he said she was not a bad teacher.
"This lady has worked for the school district for the last two years, never any instances. She is a fully certified substitute. No problems from that point of view," said Waleszonia. "We have to go through central registry checks and that sort of thing with these people and even fingerprint and background checks."
Waleszonia said substitutes sometimes have a more difficult time getting kids to obey their instruction.
"Sometimes as a substitute teacher or even as a regular teacher when you're in a classroom, you're going to reach out and tap a child in the shoulder or say, hey turn around here or watch what you're doing, that type of thing," said Waleszonia.
Waleszonia said the district has a standing rule for substitute teachers when it comes to discipline. He said there is a "no touch policy" in place for all registered substitutes.
"You don't put your hands on a child unless it's necessary and the necessary would be to protect yourself or other children," said Waleszonia. "She was trying to get control of the classroom is what she was in the process of doing."
Chief Tony Rusher with the Trumann Police Department said once their investigation is complete, the results will be handed over to the prosecutor, who will then determine if any criminal charges should be filed.
"It is a situation that certainly we don't want to occur and we caution our substitutes about that when we have our orientation session with substitutes," said Waleszonia.