JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools has confirmed to Action News Jax that it is investigating claims a James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School teacher hit a student.
The teacher involved has been reassigned to a role with no student contact pending the outcome of the investigation, according to a letter from Principal Tamara Feagins. Read the full letter from Feagins below:
Dear Parents and Guardians,<br/> <br/> At James Weldon Johnson, we strive to maintain a safe and secure learning environment and build trustworthy relationships among our students, staff, and families. For this reason, I want to make you aware of allegations involving one of our teachers and inform you of the measures we have taken in response to those allegations.<br/> <br/> Specifically, one of our teachers is alleged to have hit a student. All of us share an intense sense of responsibility to protect the welfare and safety of our students. Our district professional standards team is conducting a full investigation, and we will also cooperate fully with all external investigative agencies that become involved when something of this nature is reported. Due to the nature of the allegations, we have temporarily re-assigned the teacher to a role with no student contact pending the outcome of the investigation. Because this is under investigation, it is not possible to share any more details at this time, but I do want you to know that any type of abusive behavior is not tolerated at our school or anywhere in our district.<br/> <br/> I would like to respectfully ask for your restraint in both arriving at conclusions and in discussing this in public forums so that we can protect the integrity of the investigations and the reputations and privacy of those involved as we await conclusions from the investigative authorities. Please know that the safety of our students and the quality of their learning experience are our most important goals. I appreciate your continued support of our school and our students and trust that we can continue to grow a productive, positive learning environment while we work through this situation.<br/> <br/> Sincerely,<br/> Tamara Feagins<br/> Principal
Duval County Public Schools has confirmed to Action News Jax that it is investigating claims that a James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School teacher hit a student.
In an Action News Jax exclusive – a Jacksonville mom said the teacher backhanded her daughter.
“I’m upset, and I want something done immediately,” Vonkeisha Inman said.
“Nobody should strike anybody,” she added. I don’t care what profession you have.”
Inman said her daughter, who she asked that we not name or show, was in class Tuesday when the incident happened.
“The class is rowdy anyways,” Inman said. “So, there was just him trying to get control of the classroom from my understanding. She was trying to come and call me, and he was supposedly snatching the phone from my child and she was struck by him like this.”
Inman provided pictures she said show bruising to her daughter’s shoulder area.
DCPS sent Action News Jax the message from the school’s principal.
It states in part, "Due to the nature of the allegations, we have temporarily re-assigned the teacher to a role with no student contact."
The principal added, "Any type of abusive behavior is not tolerated at our school or anywhere in our district."
“I don’t know what kind of person would just strike somebody,” Inman said. “That’s not right.”
Since these are just accusations, Action News Jax is not naming or showing the teacher allegedly involved. We did try to speak with him, but no one came to the door at his listed address.
Action News Jax has requested to see the teacher’s personnel file, and has also reached out to DCF to see if they have an open investigation.
Inman said DCF is investigating; DCF told Action News Jax that they can't comment at this time.