A high school teacher was arrested on Friday after she was captured on video brutally attacking a special needs student.
In the horrifying footage, the 16-year-old student appears to strike the female teacher in the face before the teacher is seen holding the girl down in her seat.
The teacher then strikes the girl at least three times before throwing her to the floor.
The beating continues when the teacher is seen stomping on the sophomore girl’s head before yelling at her and walking away.
Other students are seen in the classroom and several appeared in shock as the incident took place.
Authorities identified the woman in the video as Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32, who was immediately fired from her position as a substitute teacher and arrested.
Lankford, who has a prior offense for a 2014 domestic violence incident, has been charged with aggravated assault.
Police said the student was taken to a local hospital. She is still recovering from severe injuries.
Lankford was taken to the Hays County Jail, but she posted bond on Saturday.
The teen’s family released a statement through their attorney, Paul Batrice, saying that they were horrified by the incident.
‘We are shocked and disgusted after seeing the abuse and excessive force used in this teacher’s attempt to discipline a special needs child,’ Batrice told KVUE on behalf of the student’s family.
‘There is no excuse for this type of behavior. Given this teacher’s alleged criminal history of domestic violence and the video footage that has shaken our community, we have started an investigation into this teacher and Hays CISD in the hopes of ensuring justice for this family and so that no Texas student ever endures such extreme behavior again,’ the attorney’s statement read.
According to the family’s attorney, the student has a special needs 504 Education Plan with the district and suffers from seizures.
Officials from the Hays Consolidated Independent School District shared a statement regarding the incident on Friday.
‘As a Hays CISD family, when one of our schools and students is hurting, we all hurt. You may have already seen stories on the news tonight, or the video on social media, about a horrible incident that occurred late this afternoon at Lehman High School.
‘It was a traumatic event for the student, her classmates, and the teachers and staff at Lehman High School. Let us all keep the Lobos in our hearts this weekend. I know we all wish our student and her family well as she recovers from this assault,’ the statement reads.
According to the district the assault occurred in a foreign language class.
‘During the assault, classmates of the 16-year-old girl alerted other adults on campus that the assault was underway.
Authorities removed the teacher from the classroom and she was questioned by school resource officer law enforcement agents, according to the district.
‘Under no circumstance is that behavior tolerated at Lehman High School or in Hays CISD,’ said Lehman Principal Karen Zuniga.
‘We take the safety and security of our students seriously. We took swift action when this incident occurred and will do everything necessary to protect our students,’ Zuniga added.
In addition to firing the substitute teacher, the district reported the incident to the Texas Education Agency.
According to the district, the substitute teacher had worked for Hays CISD since August 30, 2019, when she underwent orientation training.
Her first substitute job in a classroom in the district was on September 13, 2019.
She had worked in a classroom in the district a total of 18 times, including Friday.
‘We are appalled at the actions of this former employee,’ said Tim Savoy, Chief Communication Officer for Hays CISD.
‘There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that can justify what you see unfold on the video. It is unconscionable what this adult did to one of our students.’
Governor Greg Abbott also weighed in on the classroom attack.
‘Conduct like this won’t be tolerated in Texas classrooms. The substitute teacher who committed this heinous act has been arrested & will face serious legal consequences,’ Abbott tweeted.