A former Madison, Wisconsin, educator has been indefinitely placed on leave after he tackled an 11-year-old girl in the school’s hallway, which resulted in the student losing three braids. The incident was reviewed on surveillance video by school district administrators, according to WISC-TV.
Now the family of the student is speaking out, claiming that the young girl is so traumatized by the encounter that she no longer wants to attend school. The student’s mother Mikiea Price, filed a police report shortly after the incident between her daughter and acting principal Robert Mueller-Owens on February 13 at Whitehorse Middle School.
Price told WISC-TV that her daughter came home in tears with a cracked lip and handed her three braids.
“I am told that the girl and her friend had sprayed perfume on themselves in the bathroom and the scent was bothering the teacher’s allergies,” Marcus Allen, a pastor and acting spokesperson for the family, said in an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle. “The teacher asked who sprayed it and the class didn’t answer, so she asked [Mueller-Owens] to come in, and he targeted this one girl.”
According to Allen, the student admitted she sprayed the perfume and was forcibly pushed into the hallway by Mueller-Owens. Allen, who also reviewed the tape, said Mueller-Owens lost his balance, fell on top of her and remained on the ground for 10-15 seconds.
“I don’t know how the girl’s braids were pulled out but she has two bald spots on her head,” he told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Price is dumbfounded and claims school administrators never contacted her to tell her of the incident, as she’s worked at the school as a substitute teacher.
What transpired is a horrific result for children where schools should foster and environment of learning and development. But studies show that Black students are continuously treated harshly in disciplinary practices, which may be the last place for a young Black child to gauge a sense of self-worth.
WISC-TV reporter Amy Reid shared the official statement by district administrators on Twitter.
“The staff person was put on leave while the situation was investigated. Based on that investigation, the staff person will not return to Whitehorse Middle School, and we are determining next steps,” it reads. “In addition, our team is coming together to create a full support plan to ensure that students is safe and fully supported at school.”
Police officials intend to complete a thorough investigation, according to a statement by the Madison Police Department.
Reid plans to further pursue legal action and is currently seeking an attorney, according to Yahoo.
“Just the whole experience is just traumatic and devastating and just confusing,” Price said to WISC-TV. “I’m just disgusted at this whole incident. You know I send my kid to school to learn, and that’s a place where mothers send their kids to be comfortable in. I just feel violated in so many ways that… this even happened to her.”