The story would be shocking outside the context of current events. But at a time when schools are doubling down on their zero-tolerance policies on violence or intimations thereof, a report of a teacher striking a 9-year-old student boggles the mind.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, 63-year-old Karl Nicholas was arrested Thursday and placed on administrative leave from the San Antonio Independent School District after allegedly slapping a student in his third-grade class last Monday.
Nicholas was charged with “knowingly causing injury to a child,” which is a third-degree felony. He posted bail Friday morning.
Nicholas at first denied the allegations but admitted to slapping the child after several students were interviewed. He insists nevertheless that the 9-year-old “threw the first punch” and that he was responding in kind.
School records show that Nicholas called the main office to ask that the girl be removed from his class because “she had assaulted him and was being disruptive.” The child’s version of events is that she dropped a pencil and accidentally struck Nicholas when she went to retrieve it from the floor. An affidavit that she signed alleges that “Nicholas slapped her in the face hard and grabbed her by the arm.”
Police began their investigation of the matter on Tuesday. Leslie Price, a spokeswoman for the school district, told reporters, “We worked very quickly to remove him from the class, from there, our Police Department moved forward to file charge.”
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