Teacher caught on camera lifting, pushing student hires lawyers - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Teacher caught on camera lifting, pushing student hires lawyers

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The kindergarten teacher under fire in Hancock County caught on camera disciplining a six-year-old student has hired attorneys in her defense.

This comes after the school surveillance video of the shocking confrontation goes national.

The Riverdale School District in Mount Blanchard, which is located south of Findlay, suspended Barb Williams for ten days without pay, but the child’s parents are calling for her to be fired.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office is also looking into possible criminal charges.

Friday afternoon, Williams’ attorneys released a statement to 13abc saying that they won’t comment on the allegations in the ongoing investigation.  However, Jay Feldstein and Christine Reardon say, “There is a reason why our society retains a system of laws and justice even in this era of round-the-clock video recording. The administrative action in regard to Ms. Williams, an accomplished twenty-five year teacher, reflects this belief.”

Meanwhile, the surveillance video has divided the small town of Mount Blanchard.  13abc spoke with people who love Williams. They say she is a great woman and what you see in that video is out of character. We also spoke with others who say none of that matters. There are consequences for certain actions.

This school surveillance video has gone viral.

It shows Riverdale Elementary School kindergarten teacher Barb Williams disciplining six-year-old Ian Nelson in the hallway outside the boys’ bathroom on May 7th.  She grabs and pushes him against the wall.

"I think she's still a wonderful person. I don't care what anybody says,” says Brett Brown, a former student of Williams in Mount Blanchard.

"I think she's getting a raw deal, myself, because she's always been a real nice lady,” says Tony Balduf, who lives in nearby Wharton, where the Nelsons live.

The confrontation set off a firestorm on social media.

Hundreds of people commented on 13abc’s Facebook page.

Giacomo Zanger writes, "No teacher has the authority to touch a child like she did."

Janet Summers says, "She was way out of line. Fire her."

Kristen Kamelesky posted, “Teachers don't have the right to discipline like that anymore."

Todd Baker writes, “She should get a medal. More kids need this kind of treatment today."

In the district disciplinary file which 13abc first brought you on Thursday, Williams admitted to the principal that she was frustrated, she pushed the boy, and said the six-year-old pushed her over the edge.

The Superintendent of Riverdale Local Schools suspended Williams for ten days without pay.

In a letter, Superintendent Eric Hoffman wrote, "Your repeated use of physical force was completely unwarranted and unprofessional."

"I've never seen her do anything like that,” says Brett Brown who had Williams as his kindergarten teacher. “I've never heard the woman cuss or raise her voice or get mad or anything."

"I think she's a little bit out of line, but we still don't know the whole story about what happened for her to do that,” says Tony Balduf who says his granddaughters were in Williams’ class.

As we reported on Thursday, district documents show Williams told Riverdale Elementary School principal Julie Spade, "Ian Nelson has been going to the bathroom and not going, walking in and walking out. He thinks it's funny and then he has an accident and wets his pants."

 According to the file, Williams admits she yelled at Ian.

 "I was furious. I was very hard on him,” said Williams, according to the principal’s report.  "I touched him on the middle of the chest and pushed him back. I was very heated."

 "I feel like I was over the top/edge,” said Williams. “He's pushing me over the top/edge and my kids over the top/edge. I'm sorry. I don't know what to do with it."

 In a letter alerting Williams she’s been suspended for ten days without pay, Riverdale Local Schools Superintendent Eric Hoffman writes, "Your responsibilities as a professional educator do not include yelling 'I am sick of you', 'I am sick of your parents' and 'I will rip you apart' to a kindergarten student."

 On Wednesday Hoffman explained Williams has been with the district for 14 years, had “great evaluations,” and parents ask for their kids to be in her class.

 "These things shouldn't happen at our school. That's why we had to take the disciplinary action,” says Hoffman.

 "Well, of course it shouldn't happen, but a teacher shouldn't be suspended for ten days when you have incontrovertible evidence of an assault in the hallway,” says Dan Margolis, the attorney hired by the Nelson family. “The school's response to this point has not been adequate."

 Margolis says the Nelsons are waiting for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and Children Services to complete their investigations.

"I would love to rip her apart, but that's not right,” Anthony Nelson, Ian’s father, told 13abc on Wednesday.  "If I went to the school and if I were to do to her what she did to him, I'm going to be in jail.”

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