A Tennessee elementary school teacher accused of hitting a 5-year-old student in her face with a ruler reportedly claimed the girl’s bruises were actually her eczema “acting up.”
According to WHBQ, a recently-released reported penned by the Shelby County School District details an “allegation of overly aggressive use of force with a student involving Cummings Elementary teacher Tierra Lewis and student Hailey Turner. School officials alleged another adult heard a “pop” when Lewis hit the girl, a claim the teacher denied.
The news station reported that Lewis told Shelby County Schools labor relations that the 5-year-old’s facial bruising was caused by eczema, which she claimed she applied ointment to without permission.
When asked what the ointment did, the teacher reportedly responded, “I’m not sure what it’s used for—healing or whatever.”
The news station reported that a labor relations advisor determined Lewis wasn’t telling the truth about the January 25 incident. It’s a sentiment that the little girl’s family shares, accusing the educator of smacking the 5-year-old in the face for telling on a classmate—and then offering her a doll to stay silent about it.
The family was outraged upon learning that Lewis would only receive a two-day suspension, as labor relations couldn’t substantiate their claims. The girl’s mother told the Daily Beast that her daughter was transferred to another classroom before they decided to remove her from the school altogether.
Chief of Communications Natalia Powers told the Commercial Appeal earlier this month that the Tennessee State Board of Education is reviewing Smith’s license and the Department of Child Services is also conducting an investigation into the incident.
WHBQ reported that Lewis has less than a year-and-a-half teaching experience. The Board is reportedly still in the process of determining whether Lewis will keep her license.
The girl’s mother said, “No one should be able to hit my daughter in her eyes without … receiving any consequences or me not knowing the actual story of what happened.”
[Featured image: Hailey Turner/WHBQ]