Substitute firing spurs bullying protest

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

May 21, 2014 at 12:21 a.m.
Updated May 22, 2014 at 12:22 a.m.

A substitute teacher was fired by the Victoria school district Tuesday for failing to supervise students on the playground and for lying about an the incident in which a student was injured.

Jeannie Decker, of Victoria, said her granddaughter was pushed by another Smith Elementary School student and suffered injuries to her face and knee.

"The teacher said it was an accident - that they were horse playing," Decker, 44, said. But campus administrators later found out the substitute teacher was not standing there when it happened.

Once Decker learned of the substitute's absence on the playground, she posted a photo of her 9-year-old granddaughter on Facebook to show her injuries.

The post spurred a conversation between Victoria residents about how the district responds to bullying.

Michelle Robinson, of Victoria, recently punished her daughter for bullying other students by making her start a clothing drive for students in need.

Robinson said she and other parents were inspired by Decker's post and other comments to organize a protest against the school district's bullying policies.

Diane Boyett, VISD communications director, said the district has another qualified substitute ready to teach the class for the remainder of the year.

The class's regularly scheduled teacher has been absent for medical reasons, Decker said.

"The school administration has been in frequent contact with (the granddaughter's) family," Boyett said. "The school is ready to welcome her tomorrow to campus when she returns."

Boyett declined to discuss the punishment or consequences of the student who pushed the other down because of federal laws protecting the privacy of the student.



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