North Texas

Fort Worth Teacher Accused of Hitting Pre-K Student With Ruler, Book

Teacher placed on administrative leave

A Fort Worth teacher has been suspended amid allegations she hit a pre-kindergarten student with a heavy book and a ruler.

The teacher at East Handley Elementary School was placed on administrative leave with pay last month, said district spokesman Clint Bond.

The teacher denied the allegations.

Star Pinyan said the case involves her 4-year-old son, Gage.

"Oh, my gosh, I never would have thought in a million years that could have happened to one of my kids when they're at school, especially at such a young age," she said.

She said her son had looked forward to starting pre-kindergarten.

"When school first started, he loved waking up, getting ready with his sister and getting dressed, and then after like a month he just didn't want to anymore," Pinyan said.

She said he complained about his teacher.

"He told me his teacher grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of class and got in his face and yelled at him," she said. "But he's four. I didn't know if it was true."

Pinyan never reported the concerns, she said.

But then, a few weeks later, the principal asked to talk to her one day after school, she said.

"She said there's been several reports of physical abuse between the teacher and my son," Pinyan said.

Pinyan said the allegations came from a teacher's assistant who was in the classroom, and that a district investigator gave her the details.

"She smacked him with a book, poked his head, yanked him out of class," the mother said. "She possibly kicked him one time. Popped him with a ruler in the back of the head and a book, like a really thick book, like, he said, a dictionary book, in the back of the head twice because he wasn't listening."

The mother said the teacher was removed from the classroom the very next day.

"I don't think she should get her job back," Pinyan said. "I mean, you send your kids to school, thinking they will be protected and taught and learn, and not abused for not listening or doing their work."

NBC 5 is not naming the teacher because no criminal charges have been filed.

Reached at her home, the teacher declined to discuss the accusations in detail but said it was "one person's word against another's" and denied doing anything wrong.

She added she has been a teacher for many years and has never been accused of abusing a student.

Steven Poole, executive director of the United Educators Association, said the teachers' group is working on the case but would not comment further.

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