A Greensboro mom is asking for justice for her son who is shown on video being body slammed by a substitute teacher at a North Carolina middle school on Valentine’s Day.
Heidy Escudero’s son, Jose Escudero, was suspended for seven days in connection with the events tied to the video.
The video shows Paul Stennett, a substitute teacher at Western Guilford Middle School, hoisting the boy over his shoulder and throwing him to the ground.
Escudero’s body hits a wall before hitting the ground.
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Several students are heard yelling in the background of the video and at least one student can be seen attempting to intervene.
The school system said on Tuesday that Stennett had been fired and won’t work at any school in the system again.
Escudero has bruises on his back from the altercation, his mother said.
On Friday, she uploaded the video to Facebook in a post written in Spanish and English with the profile name Mayo Corrales asking for justice.
Escudero said her son was suspended because he hit the substitute teacher.
“The moment that my son pushed the teacher was when the teacher had him in the air, grabbing his collar and my son was trying to get him to let go,” Escudero alleged in an interview with The News & Observer.
Guilford County Schools spokeswoman Nora Carr said in an email on Tuesday that “a verbal exchange between a student and substitute teacher escalated into a physical altercation between the two” but did not elaborate on the nature of the exchange or altercation.
The video only shows Escudero being thrown to the ground at the end of the class, but the event escalated from an interaction that happened at the beginning of class, the mother said.
She said her son received a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day that he was eager to open.
At the beginning of the class period, he opened the chocolates on put them on the table. Stennett then grabbed the chocolates and threw them in the sink.
Escudero thought he heard the box break, she said, which prompted him to get out of his seat to check on the chocolates.
She alleged that Stennett then approached Escudero and punched him in the clavicle.
The substitute teacher asked him to sit down and the class continued, she said.
At the end of class, a classmate handed Escudero the chocolates and he began put them into his backpack.
Stennett grabbed Escudero’s backpack while he was putting away the chocolates, she said.
The two tugged on the backpack, Escudero fell into his seat, then the substitute teacher grabbed Escudero’s neck and raised him above his head, she alleged.
“That’s when the man throws him on the ground,” she said.
When Escudero tried to get up, she said Stennett grabbed his neck again and in self defense Escudero tried to push him away, she said.
The school resource officer and others responded to the classroom, Carr said. The principal and human resources investigated the incident and reported it to local law enforcement for their review.
Guilford County Schools hired Stennett as a substitute teacher in December. His last day working in the school system was Wednesday, Feb. 14, Carr said.
“He will not substitute in any GCS school or be considered in the future for any GCS position,” Carr said. “The student received appropriate disciplinary consequences in keeping with our student code of conduct.”
The student’s family and the parents of the other students who were in the class when the incident happened received a phone call from the principal through the schools system’s our mass notification system Thursday morning, once the translation into Spanish had been completed, Carr said.
“This kind of behavior by any adult toward a student is unacceptable, and does not meet our standards or expectations,” Carr said. “This individual is no longer employed with us, and we’ve taken steps to ensure this won’t happen again.”
Principal Patrice Brown of Western Guilford Middle School addressed parents about the incident on the school’s Facebook page on Monday.
“Last Wednesday, a substitute in appropriately (sic) handled a student issue,” Brown wrote. “It was reported immediately to GCS Human Resources and law-enforcement, and the substitute no longer works for our School or our district.”
Escudero said her son will not return to the school and that she is going to sue the school.
She said she asking the Guilford County Schools to remove the suspension from Escudero’s school record.