Kansas City police cited a mother for assault after she allegedly beat up her child’s kindergarten teacher Thursday night at Truman Elementary School in the Hickman Mills School District.
According to police reports, the 24-year-old mother, Simone A. Baker, pulled the 49-year-old teacher out of her chair by the hair, repeatedly punched her in the face and slammed her head against a file cabinet in the 6 p.m. incident at 9601 James A. Reed Road.
The mother was upset, according to police reports, because her 6-year-old son had come home Thursday with a scratch on his neck that he said came from the teacher, who had disciplined him that day.
But on Friday, the boy’s father took his son to the school, and the boy told administrators and police that the teacher hadn’t hurt him, a district official said.
Police reports gave this account of the Thursday incident:
After seeing the scratch, the mother called the school, which has an after-school program, and angrily told the principal that she was on her way there. The principal told her not to come, but the mother said she already was around the corner and planned on entering the school.
The principal intercepted the mother at the front door and told her that they would set up a meeting to discuss the discipline incident involving her son. But the mother bolted down the hallway at a full sprint toward her son’s classroom.
His teacher was on the phone talking to another parent when the mother came in and said, “You better not touch my kid again.”
She ran behind the desk where the teacher was seated and hit her five to 10 times in the face while holding the teacher’s arm to her side, according to the police report. She then grabbed the teacher by her hair, pulled her out of her chair and slammed her head against a file cabinet twice before running out of the classroom and leaving the building.
The principal had gathered other staff members and followed the mother to the classroom, arriving about 30 seconds after the mother. The assault already was over. There were no students in the classroom at the time.
The teacher suffered redness and bruising to her face. Police officers went to the mother’s house but could not find her. Officers issued her a city ticket for assault with a court date of Oct. 22.
District spokeswoman Ebony Walker said that the teacher went to a hospital Thursday night and was released after being checked.
Walker said the district intends to prosecute the case to “the fullest extent of the law.”
“The district cares deeply about the safety of faculty and staff and is prepared to pursue all legal avenues,” said Walker, the district’s director of media relations and community affairs.
Baker’s contention that the teacher scratched her son is under investigation by the district, Walker said.
Such physical assaults on teachers by parents are unusual, said Ann Jarrett, teaching and learning director for the Missouri NEA. Much more common, she said, are verbal attacks from parents toward teachers.
But “it happens often enough that we train new teachers on how to handle the situation if it does happen,” Jarrett said.
A 2010 survey on violence toward teachers noted that there had been very little research nationally on the issue.
That survey of more than 4,700 kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers was conducted by a task force of the American Psychological Association. The survey covered different levels of victimization including obscene remarks and gestures, verbal threats and physical attacks.
About 50 percent of the survey participants reported some type of victimization within the previous year. Parents were the perpetrators in about 18 percent of those cases, according to the survey.