The family of a Tennesee kindergartener is speaking out after they say a teacher slapped her in the face with a ruler for “tattle-tailing” on another student.
Speaking with the Daily Beast, mother Ciara Morgan, 23, claimed the Cummings Elementary teacher only got a two-day suspension for a January 25 incident involving her 5-year-old daughter, Hailey Turner. Morgan alleged that the teacher, identified as Tierra Smith, had called Turner’s aunt and claimed she put ointment on the child’s face because she kept scratching her eczema.
Morgan said she and Turner’s father rushed to the school as the teacher insinuated that their daughter was suffering an allergic reaction. She was reportedly shocked to see the girl’s face was bruised and didn’t appear scratched.
“I actually cried because she had a big bruise around her eye,” Morgan told WHBQ.
She said Turner revealed that Smith had actually hit her in the face with a ruler after she told on a classmate who wasn’t following the rules during computer time.
“She said the teacher reached into her desk, pulled out a ruler, walked over to her and told her ‘no tattle-tailing’ and popped her,” Morgan claimed her daughter said.
The mother told the Daily Beast that Smith had offered Turner an LOL doll if she didn’t tell anyone about the incident.
Turner’s mother and father escalated the ordeal to Shelby County school officials. Chief of Communications Natalia Powers told the Commercial Appeal that labor relations couldn’t substantiate the parents’ claims, though their investigation found that Smith had struck the child’s hand.
“Why does my daughter have to leave her comfort zone? They should have put her in a different school.”
Morgan said she was still horrified to learn two weeks later that the teacher was back in class—and that school officials changed Turner’s classroom. In a statement to WHBQ, the Shelby County School District confirmed she was removed from the school and “received disciplinary consequences” in accordance with board policy.
Relatives alleged that the Tennessee Department of Education never reviewed the school district’s report. Meanwhile, Powers confirmed to the Commercial Appeal that the Tennessee State Board of Education is reviewing Smith’s license and that the Department of Child Services is also conducting an investigation.
The family has since transferred the 5-year-old to a different school, according to reports.
Morgan told the Daily Beast, “She keeps saying, ‘I didn’t want to snitch on her and get her in trouble.’ She felt like she was in the wrong.”
[Featured Image: Hailey Turner/WHBQ]