BISD terminates Ozen teacher seen hitting student in viral video

BISD terminates Ozen teacher seen hitting student in viral video

By Dan Wallach

The Beaumont school district fired former Ozen High School teacher Mary Hastings on Tuesday, 11 days after a cellphone video of her striking a student in her classroom was posted to social media and quickly was shared across the country.

Hastings, 63, who was charged with assault, has been on leave from the district since the incident.

The school district also took action to create a disciplinary committee to create best practices for students, parents, teachers and administration to follow to prevent the kind of disruptions that might spark similar incidents in the future.

The Beaumont school district fired former Ozen High School teacher Mary Hastings on Tuesday, 11 days after a cellphone video of her striking a student in her classroom was posted to social media and quickly was shared across the country.

At the Board of Managers meeting, current and former teachers asked for the board’s help in supporting teachers who feel threatened by unruly students and who also feel unsupported by principals and by the administration in general.

Candace LeMasters, a teacher at West Brook High School, told the board that she and her colleagues are “pushed to edge” by some students and are then told that a student’s bad behavior is the teacher’s fault.
She said the board must put “teeth” into the disciplinary system and that the administration must stand behind teachers.

Former teacher Kari Choate said she left the profession because of too many classroom disruptions and too little authority for teachers to adequately control it.

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