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Duval teacher fired after allegations of hitting kindergartner with book

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Updated: 1/08 12:23 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval County School Board spent 45 minutes debating the future of a kindergarten teacher accused of hitting a student with a book multiple times in front of her classmates.

For the past seven years Beverly Howard was a tenured teacher at Louis S. Sheffield Elementary School. However she's no longer on the payroll after the school board voted 6-1 to accept a recommendation for termination by a judge after hearing the allegations of abuse.

During the meeting DCPS legal counsel Katie Harris quoted part of the investigation.

"The kindergarten student that several students reported being hit by Miss Howard testified at the hearing that Miss Howard wasn't nice to her and that she was trying to be good, but that Miss Howard would hit her hard with a book. A 6-year-old student in Miss Howard's classroom testified that he witnesses Miss Howard beat the classmate with a book and that while that was occurring she would cover her head with her shirt to try and protect herself," said Harris.

Howard's lawyer, David Hertz, agreed that something happened, however he claims the allegations were blown out of proportion and that she shouldn't lose her job.

"Something probably did happen and something that I would suggest to you would support some penalty, perhaps a normal 30-day suspension would be sufficient," said Hertz.

Duval Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti couldn't comment on multiple prior investigations of alleged abuse or how she was able to become tenured, but says he had to address the most recent case.

"The incident that came to my desk to me led me to look at that particular incident, and the prior record and that's why I originally recommended termination," said Vitti.

Howard taught for more than 30 years and school leaders tell us she was not able to receive her tenured benefits because of her termination.

Hertz had no comment about Howard's termination after the decision was made.
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Realchange - 1/8/2014 2:53 PM
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Before everyone judges the woman has you been checked for brain tumors or Alzheimer's? Both could cause such behavior and might account for a need to medical retire her rather than ruin her retirement. If she clears on both those ends then do fire her. Yet Jacksonville insists young kids and high school students alike should not have cell phones or even cell phones with cammeras. It makes it to hard to defend the teachers when they do wrong then.
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