This teacher went from the classroom to jail after videos of the attack were posted online.
Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32, has been charged with aggravated assault after video shows her repeatedly punching a 16-year old sophomore girl in the face, pulling her out of her chair, and then stomping on her head. Students in the classroom recorded the attack and posted the videos to social media.
The assault took place just south of Austin at Lehman High School in Kyle, Texas.
When alerted of the incident, school officials acted immediately and removed Lankford from the classroom.
KVUE spoke with the school district and a student in the classroom, who confirmed that the video circulating on social media captured the incident. In the video, you can see the teacher punching the student multiple times, pulling her from her desk and stomping on her head. Another video also shows the student striking the teacher as she was grasping her in her seat.
The Hays County Sheriff’s Office identified the teacher as Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32. Officials said the student involved was 15 or 16 years old.
The sheriff’s office said Lankford was arrested on-site after school resource officers responded. She was charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony.
On Friday, Principal Karen Zuniga sent an email to parents that read:
As a family, we share both the good news and bad news together. Today, I have to tell you about an incident that is disconcerting.
This afternoon, we fired one of our guest teachers for hitting and fighting with a student. Under no circumstance is that behavior tolerated at Lehman High School or in Hays CISD. Additionally, the former employee was arrested by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and faces potential criminal charges. Her actions will also be reported to the Texas Education Agency.
We take the safety and security of our students seriously. We took swift action when this incident occurred and will do everything necessary to protect our students.
Lankford was hired by the Hays Consolidated Independent School District on August 30 and has worked in a classroom 18 times. Hays CISD requires that all substitute teachers pass a fingerprint criminal background check before being permitted in the classroom.
WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO:
BREAKING VIDEO: A substitute teacher in Hays County, Texas, has been fired after video surfaced of her repeatedly hitting a student pic.twitter.com/1QiamUeoFf
— LIVE Breaking News (@NewsBreaking) November 9, 2019
A 10th grader who was in the class and didn’t want to be identified told KVUE Lankford was passing out papers and students were laughing. The student said Lankford became increasingly aggravated, before getting into a verbal altercation with the victim.
“The student said ‘shut up’ back. She said, ‘No, you shut up,’ and the teacher got in the student’s face and put her hand on her chest and her other hand on her arm,” the 10th grader said. “The student swung, because she was in her face and pressing her. The teacher put down her glasses – she swung like three times, pulled her to the ground and stomped on her head.”
Watch the KVUE News report with an interview with a student that witnessed the attack:
Texas Governor Greg Abbott responded to the incident on Twitter saying that conduct like Lankford’s “won’t be tolerated in Texas classrooms” and that the school district will be investigated by the Texas Education Agency.
Conduct like this won't be tolerated in Texas classrooms.
The substitute teacher who committed this heinous act has been arrested & will face serious legal consequences.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 9, 2019
The student was released to her father and taken to the hospital to assess her injuries.
“We are appalled at the actions of this former employee,” said Tim Savoy, chief communication officer for Hays CISD. “There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that can justify what you see unfold on the video. It is unconscionable what this adult did to one of our students.”
As Savoy said, there is zero excuse for this kind of behavior by a teacher. Yes, the student did hit her and that’s not acceptable either, but the student is not the adult in the room. Lankford should not be in a classroom if she cannot keep her anger in check.
Kudos to Lehman High School officials and Hays CISD for their quick response.
Lankford is currently in the Hays County Jail where she awaits magistration on Saturday.