Crime

Shawnee police investigate battery against child at elementary school, teacher fired

Surveillance: Shawnee Mission elementary school teacher kicks student

The Shawnee Police Department investigated a battery against a 5-year-old student at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School, and the Shawnee Mission School District said the teacher involved has been fired.
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The Shawnee Police Department investigated a battery against a 5-year-old student at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School, and the Shawnee Mission School District said the teacher involved has been fired.

An attorney is pursuing a civil suit on behalf of a 5-year-old girl who can be seen in a surveillance video being kicked by an elementary school teacher who has since been fired by the Shawnee Mission School District.

The Shawnee Police Department investigated the battery against the girl that occurred Feb. 21 at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School, according to a police report.

Attorney Dan Zmijewski said the girl is traumatized and “terrified of going back to that school.” Following the incident, the girl’s family enrolled her in a “home bound plan” through the district.

District spokesman David Smith said the student’s mother contacted the school the day of the incident. Officials checked for a record and viewed a surveillance recording. When administrators called the teacher in to discuss the incident, she was placed on leave and “was never again in contact with students and was terminated as soon as the investigation was complete,” Smith said.

The teacher was identified as Crystal Smith. This was her first year teaching in the district, David Smith said. She was terminated March 25.

Zmijewski questioned the actions of school officials. He said the girl went to multiple people following the attack, but no one listened, and that the girl’s mother wasn’t notified about what happened.

The video shows the 5-year-old laying in a bookshelf in the library after other students had filed out. The teacher yanks the girl out of the bookshelf and walks away. She returns, waits until another staff member in another part of the library turns her back and kicks the child in the back.

“There was no question that we were going to do everything we could immediately to terminate that teacher and to look after that child,” David Smith said. “No child should have to experience that. It’s a horrible situation. We feel terrible about it and that person no longer works for us.”

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said his office is reviewing the criminal case.

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