A substitute teacher assaults student in Kyle, Texas, leading to an investigation. The target of the teacher’s alleged attack — a special needs student. The assault, which occurred at Lehman High School, was caught on video. The teacher in question, Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32, was arrested on school grounds and charged with felony aggravated assault.
The video of the assault has circulated on social media, causing outrage in the school community. Reportedly, it includes Lankford punching and kicking a special-needs high school student who suffers from seizures, according to the girl’s father.
“We are shocked and disgusted after seeing the abuse and excessive force used in this teacher’s attempt to discipline a special needs child,” the family’s attorney Paul Batrice said in a statement.
“There is no excuse for this type of behavior,” Batrice continued. “Given this teacher’s alleged criminal history of domestic violence and the video footage that has shaken our community, we have started an investigation into this teacher and Hays CISD (Hays Consolidated Independent School District) in the hopes of ensuring justice for this family and so that no Texas student ever endures such extreme behavior again.”
Per reports, the substitute teacher has a previous record for domestic violence. The video appears to show Lankford punching the 16-year-old student multiple times, pulling her from her desk, and kicking her in the head. The student was released by the school to her father, who took her to a local hospital for evaluation, the Hays County sheriff’s office said in an update. Batrice later confirmed the student suffered major injuries due to the attack.
“All parents, myself included, should be deeply disturbed by the facts surrounding this attack,” Batrice said.
“When we drop our children off at school, we expect that teachers and administrators will keep them safe, not place them in a violent environment,” Batrice continued. “This is unacceptable, to say the least, and we demand justice to the fullest extent of the law in order to enact the change so obviously necessary.”
Lankford was released on bond on Saturday. Additionally, Lankford was fired, and her actions will be reported to the Texas Education Agency, per Lehman High School Principal, Karen Zuniga.
“Under no circumstance is that behavior tolerated at Lehman High School or in Hays CISD,” Zuniga wrote in a statement shared on the school’s Facebook page. “We take the safety and security of our students seriously. We took swift action when this incident occurred, and will do everything necessary to protect our students.”
According to a statement from the school district, Lankford had undergone orientation training on August 30 and began teaching in the district on September 13. She’d worked in a district classroom 18 times, including on Friday.
“We are appalled at the actions of this former employee,” Tim Savoy, chief communication officer for Hays CISD said in reports. “There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that can justify what you see unfold on the video. It is unconscionable what this adult did to one of our students.”