Ex-teacher sentenced for kicking Kansas kindergarten student
BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas teacher who was caught on security camera kicking a kindergarten student in the school library has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and a year of probation.
Crystal Smith, 55, was also ordered to attend anger management classes after pleading guilty to battery at a video hearing Thursday in Johnson County District Court, online court records show.
A security camera at the Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School in Shawnee, Kansas, captured footage of the February 2019 incident, which unfolded after the rest of the class had left the library. The girl had crawled into a bookshelf opening. Smith yanked her out, then kicked the girl as she lay huddled on the floor.
The girl eventually stood up and walked out of the library behind Smith. The mother was not informed and did not learn of the incident until the girl told her when she was picked up from school, according to a federal civil lawsuit filed against the school. The mother then went to the school to find out what had occurred.
When the mother confronted the teacher, Smith denied harming the girl and told her the girl was not being truthful. The mother demanded school officials to investigate and review any video security footage.
“She is really young so it’s pretty devastating to her,” Dan Zmijewski, the family’s attorney, said of the then-kindergarten student.
Not only is it traumatic because it happened, but the school didn’t do anything about it until her mother came to school to find out what happened, he said. So not only is the girl having to deal with what happened to her, but she also has to deal with nobody doing anything about it and trying to suggest it didn’t even happen.
The school did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Zmijewski said it has been “very traumatic” for the girl.
“At first she was completely, totally terrified of schools and libraries because it happened in the library ... that is unfortunately one of the safest places you think you can go as a child,” he said. “It required her to get therapy as a result of all this.”
Smith is no longer employed at school, he said.