On February 21, a Shawnee, Kansas, mother picked her daughter up from school. When her daughter said, “I don’t like my teacher,” the mom knew she had to find out why.
As KCTV reports, a 5-year-old elementary school student told her mom after school that she didn’t like her teacher.
“She’s really mean. She hit me on my arm,” she said.
After seeing a red mark on her daughter’s arm, the mom traveled back to Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School to ask some questions.
The mom, who wished to remain anonymous, discovered that her daughter already went to another teacher for help following the incident. Allegedly, nothing was done to help.
The IEP teacher told the mom:
“[The 5-year-old] did mention to me, ‘My teacher, like hit me’. I asked her what happened and she said she touched her on her arm but I wasn’t there so I’m not sure what happened.”
According to KCTV, the mom proceeded to record the rest of her conversations with people from the elementary school regarding the incident.
After learning who the teacher in question was, the mom met with Crystal Smith.
In the recorded audio, Smith said it was the child who was doing the kicking and hitting:
“So, I’m not surprised she has some marks on her. She was crawling in the bookshelf. She has a red spot on her arm. And I’m not surprised because she shoved herself into that bookshelf…I mean, she kicked me a couple of times. She was reaching over into the bookshelf pulling books out and there were those metal, metal book divider things … I said don’t we can’t do that. So I put myself kind of standing around her so that if she does throw something she wouldn’t break something…”
Unwilling to take the teacher at her word, the mom asked the school if there was surveillance footage of the reported incident — and there was.
The video showed the little girl laying on the floor behind some bookshelves after being dragged by the teacher for hiding. Smith is later seen kicking the child in the back.
The mom told KCTV:
“When I saw the video it was heartbreaking, because everything she said, she sat at the same table as me and just lied about everything … she lied to me. She lied to everyone else. She was almost really convincing. […]
I can’t really even put it into words. I hurt for my child, and I was just angry that someone could do that.”
“I said, ‘OK, had my child not said anything to me, you were just going to go behind closed doors and speak to everyone else, and if something came up then you’d let me know? But had she not said anything to me it all. I may not have ever known.”
Roughly a month after the incident, Smith was fired.
In a statement released by the Shawnee Mission School District, the school admitted that it was “deeply distressed by the actions shown in the video.”
It’s unclear if any criminal charges will be filed as a result of the teacher’s actions.