Portsmouth substitute teacher fired for hitting child

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 16 at 6:55 PM

Update: Portsmouth police detective Misty Holley said Johnson filed a report Wednesday.

“I do know the report is active and will be assigned to a detective for further investigation,” Holley said.

PORTSMOUTH- A Portsmouth substitute teacher has been fired for reportedly hitting a 3-year-old.

The child's mother, Donicia Johnson, said another parent was visiting the Head Start preschool on Airline Boulevard, when they saw a substitute teacher hitting Johnson's little girl on her bottom. The witness immediately reported the incident.

“The teacher kept trying to pop her to get her to lie down,” Johnson said.

Head Start director Nancy Null told 13News Now that the substitute involved will never be called again to work in the program.

“We are extremely concerned about the safety of our children. We take every complaint to heart,” Null said.

Johnson said although she couldn't see any bruising on her daughter, she plans to report the substitute teacher’s actions to police, "so she won't get another job, and do this again to someone else's child.”

Some parents also claim the supervisor didn’t stop the substitute from hitting the child.

“I don't understand why it took a parent to report this.  The supervisor is there, and she's supposed to be watching over the kids,” Johnson said.

Null wouldn’t say if the supervisor will keep her job, but she noted all staff are being interviewed as part of the incident report. 

“We are in the process of investigating this complaint, and we will take appropriate action,” Null said. 

The Stop organization originally managed the Head Start program in Portsmouth, but lost control due to mismanagement. For about 18 months, Community Development Institute managed the center. Under CDI's control, state inspectors cited safety problems with the building and playground. Additionally two teachers were fired for making children clean up feces in the bathroom.

In November 2012, the Office of Human Affairs took over Head Start and moved the program into a new building on Airline Blvd. "We are working extremely hard to make these centers quality. Yesterday's incident was unfortunate, but the substitute will not be called back. We will also make a decision on the supervisor who was in the classroom at the time," Hull explained.

Parents can check here to see if their child’s daycare or preschool has a history of violations.


 

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