Refusing to join the line with the rest of her classmates leaving the library, kindergarten student, five, hides in the bookshelf to this dismay of Kansas school teacher, Crystal Smith. After leading the rest of the kids to their next class, Smith returned to roughly pull the student out of the bookshelf and onto the floor, kick her in the back, then pull her up by her arm, leaving a red welt that drew the attention of the student’s mother. As per the request of the child’s mother, her child’s name and her own have been omitted.
Immediately after the incident, the five-year-old reported the abuse to her homeroom teacher who quickly dismissed the accusation. When the child arrived home with a red welt on her arm and an explanation that involved a teacher touching her, her mother began to feel concerned. She then asked her daughter how her day was, a question to which her daughter responded, “I don’t like my teacher. She’s really mean. She hit me on my arm.” Unsurprisingly, this answer only served to exacerbate the mother’s worry and led to her decision to look into the situation.
The Mother’s InvestigationYoutube
The anxious parent called her daughter’s school, Bluejacket Flint Elementary School located in Shawnee, Kansas, with the intention of reaching the Principal. Unable to get through, she went to the school herself to investigate. Upon entering the school in person, the mother was able to find out that her daughter had already alerted a teacher to the matter at hand, yet, nothing was done. From there on out, the mother took it upon herself to record every conversation had with members of the school’s administration. One of these conversations was with the child’s homeroom teacher to whom the child had initially reported the abuse perpetrated by Smith and who had consciously made the decision to dismiss the child’s serious accusation. The teacher explained to the mother that, because she wasn’t there, she didn’t feel the need to report what the child had said.
The mother next spoke to the librarian, Smith, whom her daughter had accused of physical abuse. During this conversation, Smith sat across from the child’s mother and lied to her with zero remorse for her actions. Smith attempted to alter the facts of the situation to make it seem as though the child received the red welt on her arm from climbing inside the bookshelf and attempted to claim that it was the child who was the one to act violently. Smith states, “So, I’m not surprised she has some marks on her. She was crawling in the bookshelf. She has a red spot on her arm. And I’m not surprised because she shoved herself into that bookshelf…I mean, she kicked me a couple of times. She was reaching over into the bookshelf pulling books out and there were those metal, metal book divider things”.
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More suspicious than ever, the child’s mother asked the school if there was any video footage of the library during the time of the supposed incident. While the school quickly confirmed that there was, in fact, video surveillance, it was over a week before the mother was able to view it. The footage shows the extent of Smith’s falsification. Rather than a violent child throwing a temper tantrum in adherence with Smith’s description, the video shows a timid child physically abused by an adult in a position of authority–an adult who attempted to use this position of authority to paint the child she victimized as a misbehaving miscreant. But Smith was not alone in her abuse of authority. The homeroom teacher who refused to take the child’s claim seriously is also at fault as she willfully disregarded a statement from a student that should have raised alarm and resulted in quick action and a prompt investigation. Without the involvement of the child’s mother, the situation would have most likely remained uninvestigated, leaving every student of Bluejacket Flint Elementary defenseless to abuse condoned by the administration as a consequence of its self-imposed ignorance.
The School’s InvestigationYoutube
Due to the mother’s involvement, however, the school was forced to confront the video footage and launch an investigation, during which the mother was told that Smith was put on leave pending its conclusion. While the incident occurred on February 21, 2019, Smith wasn’t officially terminated until March 25, 2019. At the behest of the mother, the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case and determining whether they can successfully press charges. However, whether the charges would be against the individual, Smith, or the school administration as a whole, remains unclear.