The parents of six-year-old Ian Nelson are furious that a kindergarten teacher who physically assaulted and verbally threatened the boy not only gets to keep her job, but her "punishment" is little more than an early jump on summer vacation.
Riverdale School teacher Barb Williams was hit with a 10-day suspension for grabbing little Ian Nelson by the shirt, lifting him in the air and shoving him into a wall, then putting a grip on his face, all the while berating him. But when she received her 10-day suspension on Tuesday, the school year had only 10 days left.
The whole assault was captured by the school's security surveillance cameras.
"We thought it was just a little incident that happened, and that's what the school made it out to sound like," said Ian's dad, Anthony Nelson. "And then all of a sudden we get this video today and this is just outrageous."
In his letter to Williams informing her of the suspension, school Superintendent Eric Hoffman tells the 14-year teaching veteran, "your repeated use of physical force was completely unwarranted and unprofessional."
The letter also quotes "inappropriate language" used by Williams toward Ian, in the confrontation that happened May 7 as the six-year-old exited a restroom.
"As you know," Hoffman wrote, "your responsibilities as a professional educator do not include yelling, 'I am sick of you,' 'I am sick of your parents,' and 'I will rip you apart' to a kindergarten student."
"I would love to rip her apart, but that's not right," said Anthony Nelson, who lives in Wharton, Ohio, with his family which includes their two other children as well as Ian. "If I went to the school and if I were to do to her what she did to him, I'm going to be in jail. I wouldn't expect an adult to be treated like that let alone a six year old child."
Nelson said he was told that his son's offense was using a bathroom to which he was not assigned.
Ian has been transferred to a different kindergarten class, but his mother says he is now afraid to go back to school and refuses to talk about what happened, as seen in the video.
"He's scared of her. Even going to the school next year or the year after, he will still have to see her if she is present in the building," said Ian's mom, Autumn Nelson. "That's probably going to scare him."
Hoffman said that Barb Williams is considered a popular teacher. "She has great evaluations," he said. "Parents request her."