The video appears to show a Texas teacher throwing a student into a wall

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) – An administrator is no longer working at a special education school in Round Rock, Texas, after surveillance video surfaced showing him grabbing a 14-year-old student and then throwing him into a room where the student hit his head on a wall.

The Texas Education Agency has said since May it was investigating the administrator for misconduct, though the agency said it could not share the nature of the investigation.

The Round Rock Independent School District said the investigation is complete, but said the outcome is a confidential personnel matter.

District officials said the administrator is still employed and working on administrative projects in the central office, but is no longer assigned to the campus where the incident occurred.

The student’s mother, Tatiana Alfano, provided email records that show on the day of the incident, school officials said her son was sent to a “cooling room” inside the district’s GOALS Learning Center, a campus for special needs students with primary disabilities and emotional disturbance. .

According to an email from the school’s director of special education, the student was sent to his room for “yelling at the teacher and using profanity directed at the teacher.” Surveillance video in the hallway shows the student trying to push past the two female teachers to get back into the classroom. The teachers then grab him by the arms and take him to the cooling room.

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Another video shows the student leaning against the wall of the cooling room with his arms folded while two teachers stand at the door for more than a minute. Soon after, the administrator goes to the door where the teachers are standing.

As the two teachers begin to leave, the student begins to leave the room. The video then shows the employee grabbing the student and throwing him back into the space. The video shows how the student hit his head against the wall.

After the student’s head hits the wall, the video shows him stand up and start gesturing towards staff. The video does not show the student hitting any of the staff. The school’s incident report said the student spat in the face of staff after hitting his head.

Shortly after, the video shows two employees, including an administrator, restraining the student on the ground for more than four minutes. He can be heard shouting “I hate it here.”

The administrator did not respond to our requests for comment.

KXAN obtained this Round Rock ISD surveillance video from the mother of the student shown in it. It was originally obtained by the family’s attorney during this case and endorsed by the county. WARNING: Contains video that some viewers may find sensitive.

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In an email from the special education director to the student’s mother that day, administrators said that “staff returned him to the cooling room. He fell and hit his head.”

Ten days after the incident, Alfano viewed the surveillance video, according to email records.

“I thought this was a disciplinary problem that I had to deal with here at home and I was ready for it, but [my son] he said ‘No, you’re not listening, mom. He threw me against the wall’ — and even I rejected him,” Alfano said. “I think he felt a huge sense of relief.”

“I felt a huge sense of guilt,” she added.

Records show the district reported the incident to the Texas Department of Children and Families on May 10 — the day after Alfano viewed the video. The Texas Education Agency said the State Board of Educator Certification received a report from the district about the administrator the following day, May 11.

“Why did it have to wait until I saw him?” Alfano asked.

A spokesperson for Round Rock ISD said Monday, “Report time [is] unrelated to when the parent viewed the video. The reports were made as soon as the district administration had the information necessary for the investigation.”

Records show the Texas Department of Children and Families has already ruled out abuse.

“I filed a complaint. I took it all the way up the chain and several people told me that it’s just not abuse because in the last few years the definition of abuse has changed,” Alfano said. “The outcome was that he was not injured enough to qualify as abuse.”

Alfano also believes it was illegal for a school official to prevent her son from leaving the “cooling room.”

The legal term for the practice of isolating students, especially those with special needs, is “timeout” under the Texas Education Code.

The law prevents school officials from locking doors to premises or physically blocking exits. TEA guidelines also state that students should not be “physically prevented from leaving”.

Alfano has hired an attorney and said she wants to seek policy and legislative changes because of the incident, including requiring districts to bring in mental health professionals after restrictions or time limits.

A 2020 study by the legal organization Disability Rights Texas found that students with disabilities in Texas experienced 91% of all reported restrictions.

“I would take over the whole world for my son. I feel like I’m right there right now. I want to make legislative changes to protect… and now, like I said, it’s bigger than just that [my son]Alfano said.

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