During a game of dodgeball, a teacher at College Park Elementary School in La Porte, Texas allegedly hit an 8-year-old student in the face with a ball, according to a report by ABC 13 News.
Ryan Lee Lemmon, 31, was arrested on Thursday and charged with injury to a child.
On February 8, while third-grader Lawrence Batiste was in his physical education class, his teacher told him to sit out as punishment for targeting another student. Afterward, Lemmon reportedly threw a ball at the child’s head and said, “Now you see how it feels to hit somebody in the face with the ball.”
Lawrence’s mother – Loretta Houston – was stunned after learning her son’s teacher allegedly hit him in the face. She said, “I never would have thought a teacher would bust him in the face.”
The child was taken to a local hospital, where doctors say he suffered hearing loss in his left ear due to how hard he was hit with the ball. It was reported that his hearing loss is temporary and will only last about a week – he should make a full recovery.
— WALB News 10 (@WALBNews10) February 18, 2017
In an interview, the child told a reporter that he can “hear you a little but not a lot” before saying, “We were just playing dodgeball to knock down the cones and that’s when he hit me.”
The mother said: “He said, ‘I didn’t know what hit me because my whole head was hurting.’ He said, ‘I went down and I sat down’ and he said ‘the coach walked over there to me and said now you see how it feels to hit somebody in the face with the ball.'”
Houston stated that after the dodgeball attack, the teacher contacted her via telephone to apologize. During their conversation, he admitted to throwing the ball, which was captured on security camera, at her son out of anger after the boy targeted another student.
However, the Houston mother stated that she did not feel as though the teacher’s apology was sincere.
She said she wanted her son’s teacher to be punished for what he did; therefore, she contacted the La Porte Police Department and reported the dodgeball attack.
Lemmon was taken into custody and was released after posting a $50,000 bond.
He appeared before a judge on Monday where he “acknowledged that he had not acted in a professional manner.”
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) February 17, 2017
According to Lemmon’s attorney, Joseph Gutheinz, “The ball that we’re talking about in this case is a foam ball that’s safe for all ages, to include toddlers. So that’s what the young boy was hit with. The doctor that examined the boy did not find any ear drum damage, but what he found was if he had any hearing loss at all, it was probably due to loud noise.”
“My client, who has been teaching for eight years, who’s loved by his students, never had a problem in school, has a sterling record, no criminal history, is being charged with a third-degree felony for accidentally hitting a child with a foam ball in the head.”
Following the accusations, the La Porte Independent School District released the following statement: “We were notified by the Deer Park Police Department that a parent has filed a complaint against a College Park Elementary teacher over an incident that occurred during a game in a scheduled physical education class on Feb. 8. The teacher is reported to have thrown at a student a foam-core ball (which is specifically designed for the game) in apparent anger.”
“Following the incident, which was inexcusable and unacceptable, the teacher contacted the parent to apologize the morning of Feb. 10. Disciplinary actions were taken by the district consistent with policy. Based on our understanding at the time, the district considered the matter closed.”
— K Van Zandt (@k_psi) February 20, 2017
“On the afternoon of Feb. 10, the district was notified that a complaint had been filed with the Deer Park Police Department,” the statement continued. “Based on the preliminary investigation, the department informed the district that charges were likely forthcoming.”
“Yesterday afternoon, the police department contacted the principal for a video copy of the incident. We are cooperating fully with the police department, and the employee is on administrative leave with pay pending resolution.”
The La Porte teacher was contacted, but he was reluctant to comment on the incident.
[Featured Image By Gaiamoments/iStock]