Crystal Smith, a kindergarten teacher at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School in Shawnee, Kansas, was recorded on video kicking a five-year-old girl back in February.
Dan Zmijewski, an attorney representing the girl’s parents, says the family is pursuing a civil suit after video of the incident was publicly released.
Video shows the child crawl into a bookshelf as other students talk out of the room in a line. Smith forcefully pulls the girl out of the shelf, picks up a paper on the floor and walks away.
When Smith returns, she waits until another adult in the library turns away and kicks the child in the back.
The teacher was placed on administrative leave the next day after the mother spoke with school officials after picking the girl up from school and they reviewed the video.
Audio of the mother confronting Smith and school officials on the afternoon of the incident was shared with the Daily News by Zmijewski.
In the recording, the mother confronts Smith who gives her account of the story.
“I’m not surprised she has some marks on her. She was crawling in that bookshelf,” Smith said. “I’m not surprised because she shoved herself into the bookshelf. She wanted to kick. I mean she kicked me a couple of times.”
In reality, Smith was the one who did the kicking.
Smith was fired at the next board meeting on March 25.
“I am deeply disturbed at the treatment my daughter suffered from, and at the troubling handling of the incident by school officials,” the girl’s mother, who has not been named, said in a statement. “My daughter’s voice went unheard by the school, and I was never notified that anything had happened involving my child.”
She said the teacher’s actions “caused long-lasting effects that my daughter and my family will continue to be impacted by” and if she hadn’t pushed to find the truth, other kids could still be at risk.
“From the perspective of the district, this was really a horrible incident,” district spokesman David Smith told the Daily News. “It was painful for us to see. When we saw it, we immediately took action. It’s not how any child should ever be treated.”
Smith said the school will review their procedures to make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the incident.
If that were our child, Ms. Crystal would have to go into hiding.