A state investigative report said that a kindergarten teacher at an after-school program at Lexington’s Rosa Parks Elementary School dumped a five-year-old out of a chair, moved her by her wrists and pinned her up against a wall.
A March 21 report from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office of Inspector General said the incident occurred in January at a program called the Rosa Parks Elementary Trailblazer’s After-School Program. Cabinet spokesman Doug Hogan said the investigation was still pending.
Based on interviews and written statements of witnesses, investigators found that a kindergarten teacher who does not normally work in the program became upset with children when they became loud and she began to discipline them.
When a five-year-old girl did not comply with the teacher’s request to move away from another child, the investigative report said, the teacher pulled the girl’s chair “out from under the child.”
When the teacher pulled the chair back, the child fell and landed on her knees on the floor. The teacher then told the child to get up from the floor and when she would not comply, the teacher pulled her by her arms or wrists and pulled her into another seat and forced her to sit there, according to the report.
The teacher put her body weight behind the chair so that the girl could not get up and then said to others in the room, ‘‘I’m not touching her,” the report said.
Witnesses said the teacher began to belittle the child, calling her a baby, and polling other children in the class to see if they had any younger siblings that ‘’act like this.’’
“It was reported that the teacher took the child by her arms/wrists, moved her out of the classroom, then pinned her up against the wall outside of the cafeteria,” the report said.“The teacher told the child she did not want her in her classroom.”
The after-school program director, notified of what was going on, saw the teacher holding the student up against the wall and “directed the teacher to release the student and step away,” according to the report.
Investigators said they determined through interviews that the child was not physically injured during the incident.
But the report said “this five-year-old child was belittled in front of her peers, physically dumped out of a chair, aggressively moved into a chair, and then physically moved by her wrists/arms into the hallway and pinned up against a wall.”
“The other children were uncomfortable, frightened and upset while this incident was happening in the classroom,” the report said.
The report said the Rosa Parks principal Claudine Barrow told the teacher on March 15 that she could not have contact with any students or staff in the after-school program and had her sign a written statement saying she understood the seriousness of the situation.
The report did not identify the teacher, but said she would not be a classroom kindergarten teacher for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year at Rosa Parks. However, investigators said she would have a position called “intervention teacher.”
The report said the facility director failed to provide for the child’s safety during the incident. It said the after-school staff had new policies and procedures to follow and would get an additional three hours of child care training.
Hogan, the state spokesman said Wednesday, “the report speaks for itself. Once aware of the accusations, the Cabinet initiated an investigation, gathered facts, developed a corrective action plan, and put a mechanism in place to ensure something like this does not happen again.”
And Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said the school district “is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for its students and takes any and all allegations of this nature seriously.”
“While we cannot comment on specific personnel matters, we can say that we reported this incident to appropriate state agencies and acted accordingly,” Deffendall said.
Fayette County has had other incidents of staff dragging or handling children roughly in the last several months. District officials previously said they had a plan to address the incidents.