There is much to be learned from the case of the Riverdale School kindergarten teacher whose teaching career all but ended when she was caught physically confronting a 6-year-old student in a school hallway in May.
What happened then may never have come to light had the confrontation not been captured on a school security camera.
Fortunately, it was and, once discovered, the video was turned over to the student’s parents. It went viral, leading to the suspension of Barbara Williams, a 15-year employee of the district.
While it took too long, Williams did the right thing, the only thing, when she resigned Friday.
The school board’s unanimous decision on Monday to accept her resignation was also correct, and will allow the district to move forward as a new school year begins.
Still, the incident is an important reminder that bullying must continually be addressed in our schools, and is not always a problem just involving students.
Abuse of a student by a teacher can occur when a teacher violates a student’s rights or endangers his safety and well-being.
Although it may not be as common for teachers to abuse students, the incident proves it does happen, and probably much more than gets reported.
Williams was caught on camera picking up the boy and shoving him into a wall.
By most accounts, Williams was a good teacher. She had received mostly positive evaluations and had been described as “skilled” and “accomplished.”
Unfortunately, Williams may be remembered more for the shocking video than all her educational accomplishments.
While the Ohio Department of Education has not suspended or revoked Williams’ teaching license, a misdemeanor criminal charge against Williams is still pending in Findlay Municipal Court.
And a second, earlier allegation involving another younger student is still being investigated.
Regardless of the outcome of those matters, every school district, if they haven’t already, should have a clearly defined bullying policy that applies to students, teachers and administrators.
Staff and student training should help make sure that the school bullying policies are widely understood. Teachers must be provided access to counseling and other alternatives to lashing out at a child.
- The Docket
- Member Service