A teacher at a Houston charter school has been captured on video beating a student.
A fellow student at Jamie’s House Charter School used her cell phone camera to capture 40-year-old science instructor Sheri Lynn Davis physically attacking 13-year old Isaiah Reagins, a sixth-grader who had reportedly been making fun of one his female classmates at the school for at-risk students.
“(The teacher) just started beating him up,” said classmate Janiqua Johnson, who shot the cell phone clip, according to news reports. “His behavior may have been bad but he didn’t deserve that.”
“He said, ‘Mama, a teacher jumped on me,’” the boy’s mother, Alesha Johnson, recalled in a phone interview with The Houston Chronicle Tuesday. “He said, ‘I have a knot on my head.’ She also said the boy suffered a black eye and other bruises, but school officials denied those claims.
According to the Chronicle, Alesha Johnson said that, before the incident, her son and several other students were in a classroom dancing to music after taking a high-stakes Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam.
“There was this little girl, she was shaking her butt and dancing around with all the other kids,” she told the newspaper. “My son was laughing. Everybody was laughing. They were having fun. The little girl got mad and said, ‘Stop laughing at me before I punch you in the face.’ My son was like, ‘Come on, come on.’ He never jumped the little girl.”
The incident, which took place late last month, has led to a probe into whether other Jamie’s House employees were on hand when it took place.
Davis, who had worked at the school for the past three years, had been placed on administrative leave when Jamie’s House officials learned of the incident. She was fired when the video was made public this week, and the school’s principal, David Jones, sent a letter home with students Wednesday.
“It was horrifying,” said Sue Jones, spokesperson for the school, which has less than 100 students. “There’s just no other word for that.”
The Crimes Against Children unit of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has taken a report and plans to launch an investigation, reports say.
White school officials have deemed the beating as an isolated incident, Jamie’s House has been cited for “noncompliance” 27 times by the state’s regulatory agency for problems with teacher certification, attendance and participation in the TAKS test. A special monitor was assigned to the school by the Texas Education Agency in March.