Local News

May 16, 2014 3:25 PM by Janine Reyes

Parents Claim Prior Complaints Against Preschool Teacher Went Ignored

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Exclusive video obtained by 6 News is sparking outrage among parents tonight.

The video shows a preschool teacher in her class filled with 3 and 4-year-olds. In the video, she grabs students by the arm, pokes at them with a pointer, yells and even swats towards one girl's face.

That video led to the suspension of the teacher, while Corpus Christi Independent School District administrators investigate.

Many of the parents who have children in the classroom came to KRIS 6 News' studios to watch the video for themselves.

They tell us they've complained before and they are upset it took our report and this video to have the teacher removed.

Parents have shared emails detailing prior complaints they launched on the teacher with her and the principal.

A Texas A&M student who monitored the classroom as part of her degree plan in 2012 also says she notified her program directors that she felt best practices were not being followed in that teacher's classroom.

So, the question for many parents today is why did it take so long?

The two minute video that shows a series of clips edited down from hours of the undercover video brought several parents in the room to tears.

"Its not just the actions where she physically grabs the children or points at them, its her face, her tone, and kids notice that," one mom said while holding back her tears.

Watching as their children are yelled at or manhandled is not easy. But it's more difficult to see this after the parents say they've launched several complaints before.

In February, one mom sent an email to the teacher saying "a four-year-old should not tell me he hates school." She goes on to say she feels her son is "isolated and belittled in class."

She says the emails led to no action.

Others say they filed complaints last year when their older children were in this same classroom. Ashley Garza has a child in the class now, but her son also attended class with the same teacher last year. "He was like she spanked my hand, and I was like, no she didn't she wouldn't do that," Garza told us about the complaint.

Last year, her son did not want to go back to class; this year, her daughter is the little girl in purple, seen sitting in the front of the class when the teacher can be seen swatting toward her face.

In another video, the teacher grabs the same little girl by the arm.

Her parents say they have no doubt the complaints they launched about their son should have been taken more seriously.

"Now, we believe it, because that's our daughter that she's grabbing and yelling in her face," said the little girl's father.

The parents tell us they complained to the principal, Dr. Susan Galvan-Luis.

Yesterday, she referred us to the district for comment, today, she did not return our phone call or email.

KRIS 6 News also attempted to contact the teacher seen in the video. She did not answer or return our call.

CCISD has suspended the teacher with pay during their investigation.

The Early Childhood Development Center staff have told the parents the teacher will not return to class this year.

The district is continuing their investigation today. They tell us they never received any district level complaints, but they are now conducting a thorough investigation.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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