Kansas mother of student who was kicked by teacher sues
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A mother is suing a suburban Kansas City school after a teacher was caught on surveillance video last year kicking her daughter, who was in kindergarten.
The woman filed the lawsuit last month against the Shawnee Mission (Kansas) School District and the case was moved to federal court this week, the Kansas City Star reported. She contends that the district was negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of the first-year teacher, Crystal Smith, who was fired after the abuse came to light.
The mother, who is identified only by her initials in the lawsuit, says her daughter got upset last February because she found some of her artwork crumpled on the floor at the Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School in Shawnee, and that her daughter approached the school librarian to show her the damage. When her daughter crawled into a bookshelf, Smith “yanked her out” and pinned her arms behind her back, causing her pain. Smith then asked the librarian to contact the principal for help, and when the librarian’s back was turned, Smith kicked the girl while she was lying on the floor, according to the suit.
The mother says she learned about what happened when she picked up her daughter after school, and that she then confronted the teacher, who told her the girl wasn’t being truthful. She says she then spoke with the principal and requested that school surveillance video be reviewed. She says she received a letter from the principal nearly a week after the incident that said the teacher had admitted grabbing and kicking the girl.
The girl’s mother says that if her daughter hadn’t told her what happened, it might never have come to light and her daughter could have suffered “more abuse at the hands” of the teacher. Her lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
A district spokesman said the school system doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
No charges are listed for Smith in Johnson County court records or in Shawnee Municipal Court. Neither Shawnee police nor Smith’s attorney, James Durbin, immediately replied to phone messages that The Associated Press left Wednesday.