A Sherburne County gym teacher has left her job after surveillance video showed her throwing a hockey stick at an eight-year-old boy during class, knocking his tooth out in the process.
The teacher, identified by the district as Kim Neubauer, has left her position after the incident, which happened back in March and left Easton Johnson with facial injuries that required medical treatment.
The school district had posted a tribute to the teacher stating that she retired from her position after 27 years, but hastily deleted it following backlash from the child's mother and other parents who discovered the video. Superintendent Ben Barton said the post was "an error and not accurate."
"This is an absolute joke! She deserves nothing. She was forced to retire for physically assaulting my son," Jodi Johnson, the mother of Easton Johnson, said in a Facebook post last week.
In a statement, Princeton Public Schools now says Neubauer was placed on unpaid leave till the end of the school year, and as of June 3 was no longer employed by the district.
In the video, Johnson is seen returning a floor hockey stick to a pile next to which Neubauer is standing. When Johnson tosses the hockey stick in the pile, Neubauer is seen picking it up and throwing it directly at his face.
The boy covers his mouth in apparent pain, brings the hockey stick back to the pile, and then runs away.
Here's the video shared to Facebook by Cassie Waalk.
The mother claims that the school then lied to her about what happened.
"My poor child was sitting in a chair alone, covered in blood, crying crocodile-sized tears," she said on Facebook. "Can you imagine an eight-year-old child being assaulted to that degree and then everyone around him lying about it?"
Johnson said her second-grader now struggles with anxiety since the incident happened.
Johnson also claimed on Facebook post that she no longer can work as a substitute teacher at the school since the incident happened. She added that she didn't want to go public with the incident in hopes that she could still work there, but "that all seems to be going downhill."
"A district I once loved and supported whole-heartedly has turned their backs on us," she continued.
The district posted a statement on their website, speaking of the aforementioned incident:
"Student safety is the top priority of the Princeton Public School District. When the District receives a complaint related to student safety, we investigate immediately and take appropriate action to address any substantiated concerns. In those rare situations in which a staff member’s conduct creates or contributes to a dangerous situation, the District may take action to end the employment relationship. In addition, the district may file a report with the Minnesota Department of Education and report to law enforcement.
"The District has received questions about its response to a particular incident. Although data privacy laws prohibit the District from sharing details about the incident, we can state that allegations were made against teacher Kim Neubauer. The District placed Ms. Neubauer on administrative leave while it investigated the allegations. After completing its investigation, the District acted quickly and decisively. As of April 8, 2022, Ms. Neubauer was placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the remainder of the school year. Additionally, Ms. Neubauer’s employment with the District ended on June 3, 2022. As a result, Ms. Neubauer is no longer an employee of the District.
"We love our students and we work tirelessly to protect and support them. We welcome and value parent feedback and recognize that together we are stronger and better equipped to respond to any safety concerns that may arise."