Karen Williams, a third-grade teacher at Columbia Elementary School in Palm Bay, Florida, was thought to be a “highly effective” teacher, but her disturbing actions towards one student shocked parents and school board members alike. The kids thought that she had a special needs boy in a bear hug before he was heard “screaming hysterically.” Luckily, the teacher’s grotesque act resulted in a dose of harsh justice.
The special needs student told investigators that he tried to get away from Williams after she put him in a bear hug. He bit her on the hand in an attempt to escape. Williams then lost control and bit the boy on the back “for like a minute,” then the frantic child bit her again.
Florida Today reports, “An eyewitness heard the student ‘screaming hysterically’ over the front office phone, and when she got to the classroom, she found him crying with an oval-shaped red mark on his back.”
Other students could not definitively identify what Williams was doing to the boy, but they did watch her pull him into a tight hug as he yelled, “My back, my back!”
Although the teacher originally denied the allegations, police found a bite mark below the child’s left shoulder blade that was “adult-sized.” Williams was immediately arrested and charged with felony child abuse. Later, the charges were, surprisingly, reduced to capable negligence that inflicts injury, which is a misdemeanor. She was later found guilty.
The Brevard County School Board convened to make a decision on Williams fate and, of course, chose to fire her over the conviction, although they noted that she had been “highly effective” in annual teacher evaluations.
Teachers, like Williams, who are hired under a professional service contract, as opposed to “annual contracts,” can only be dismissed for unsatisfactory evaluations, gross insubordination, willful neglect of duties, or conviction of a moral crime.
Parents find it hard to fathom how they would handle a cruel act of this nature from an elementary education professional. Hopefully, the boy will be able to recover from the emotional wounds inflicted.