Three elementary school cafeteria clerks were on break in the school hallway when they heard a disturbing scene.
Kindergarten teacher Barb Williams, 55, was yelling at one of her six-year-old students about going to the washroom when the situation got out of control. “I’m sick of you,” they heard the older teacher scream. “I’m sick of your parents.”
“I will rip you apart.”
The employees could only hear the teacher, but they were sure she had physically abused the boy. That’s when they decided to approach their principal with their concerns.
The school informed Ian Nelson’s parents that a possible incident may have occurred, but they didn’t give the impression it was anything serious.
“We thought it was just a little incident that happened, and that’s what the school made it sound like,” Anthony Nelson said in an interview with ABC15 Arizona.
“Then all of a sudden, we get this video today and this is just outrageous.”
After the cafeteria workers’ complaint, the principal and superintendent discovered disturbing footage of the incident. Outraged by what they saw, Ian’s parents immediately contacted the media with their story.
In the video, you see the teacher pinning Ian up against a wall, grabbing him by the face, and picking him up by the neck of his shirt as his head flops back.
Ian’s mother, Autumn Nelson, described her reaction to seeing the horrifying footage, saying: “I watched it in the kitchen.”
“I just started crying. I burst out into tears. I called my mom, I called his mom. I started calling everybody. I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.'”
According to school documents, when questioned about the incident, Barb Williams, the teacher, admitted she was “hard on [Ian]” and yelled at him. However, she makes no mention of physical contact until pressed by school officials. In the documents, she is quoted as saying:
“I was loud, in his face, and I pushed him back. I feel like I was over the top/edge. He’s pushing me over the top/edge.”
The school suspended Barb Williams for ten days without pay, but the family decided to pursue criminal charges.
When the video of the events went public, people shared the family’s outrage. A petition addressed to the Ohio Department of Education was created calling for the teacher’s termination. It gathered more than 2,700 signatures, and Barb ended up resigning herself. A Google search also reveals a Facebook group titled simply “Barb Williams— Evil Teacher” with 23 loyal members.
In court, Barb made a plea deal with the prosecution. They lessened her charge to attempted child endangerment, a second-degree misdemeanor, and ordered her to attend anger management and to pay a $250 fine.
According to The Courier, the judge considered Barb’s witness statements, clean criminal record, and Ian’s lack of injuries when assigning the sentence. As can be imagined, the family was less than thrilled with the verdict. In an interview, their lawyer, Dan Margolis, said: “They [the prosecution] never spoke with the family, and they never spoke to me. Odd things happen in the darkness.”
“I would say Christmas came early for her this year.”
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