A teacher has resigned from a school in Texas after taking photos of her foot on the neck of a 10-year-old Black pupil.
The shocking incident took place at Lamar Elementary School in Greenville on April 20, according to local reports.
The picture showed the unnamed boy lying on the ground with the teacher’s converse sneaker placed across his neck and shoulder.
The child’s mother said that the teacher had intended the act as a joke after her son failed to return a signed paper to the school.
Speaking NBC 5 DFW, she claimed the teacher told her son: "Make sure you bring this paper back or I’m going to get on to you, and your mama told me to get on to you if I need to."
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She allegedly added: "I’m going to put my foot on your neck,” to which the boy laughingly replied: "I bet you won’t."
Another student then encouraged the boy to get down on the ground – and he did, the mum said.
"He laid on the ground and that’s when I guess she put her foot on there.”
She continued: “I don’t think there was any harm intended, there was no bad intentions and regardless of what anybody says I’m going to stand on that."
However, she recognised that the move – which occurred the same day that Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd – was far from funny.
The mum, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted that she “didn’t think anything of” the photo at first, explaining that she and her son’s teacher had a close relationship.
“It was ‘ha, ha,’ and I moved on," she told DFW. "The picture then began to bother me a little bit, showed it and my family got really upset about it."
She said her sister shared the picture on social media and, from there, the issue snowballed.
"I kept stating, ‘It’s a joke you know, she’s not like that, she’s not a racist, she’s not’,” the mother said.
“You know? She doesn’t have bad intent with this.”
She added that she’d spoken to the teacher over the phone on Tuesday night, as an official probe was launched into the incident.
“(The teacher) assured me that she would never do anything to hurt me or my child, and I know that she didn’t need to tell me that,” the mum said.
“Her last words to me were, ‘Do me a favour, and regardless of what happens with this situation, never stray away from the fact that I love you, I love your son, and I will never do anything to hurt y’all.”
The mother continued: "I can’t go on knowing that this lady’s life is being destroyed over nothing, to me. You know, it might be big to everybody else, but it was a joke between me, her and my son, and nobody knows the relationship that we have, except the three of us," she said, adding that she had pleaded with authorities not to fire the teacher.
On Wednesday, Greenville Independent School District (GISD) sent an apology letter to parents explaining that the Lamar Elementary school teacher had been placed on administrative leave while it carried out investigations.
Three days later, the teacher resigned.
The GISD’s superintendent, Dr Demetrus Liggins, said in a statement: “We deeply regret the distress this incident has caused, and I am accepting the teacher’s resignation.
”Nonetheless, we will report what occurred to the State Board for Educator Certification. They will determine what action might be taken concerning her teaching certificate.
“In Greenville ISD, we strongly believe that all individuals, especially the students entrusted to our care, must be treated with dignity and respect.
“We will address the seriousness of these activities with our entire staff. We will also develop strategies to address future staff training.”