From EAG News:
FORREST CITY, Ark. – An Arkansas high school teacher is expected to face multiple criminal charges for allegedly spraying a special education student in the face with mace in a video recorded incident in the school cafeteria.
Keresia Jones, a 53-year-old special education teacher at Forrest City High School, was allegedly caught on camera following a male student around the cafeteria “yelling at him to settle down and get his tray” during lunch Monday, according to a police report cited by News Channel 3.
The school resource officer was in the cafeteria and witnessed the incident.
“The report said the student appeared agitated but followed her instructions and put the tray on the cafeteria table,” the news site reports. “Then the report stated the student started walking toward Jones and she yelled at him to stop. Before the officer could act, Jones reportedly sprayed the student’s face with mace.”
Forrest City Police are seeking charges of third-degree battery, possession of tear gas-pepper spray and terroristic threatening, all misdemeanors.
“The district has launched an investigation, along with the local police department,” Forrest City superintendent Tiffany Hardrick said. The superintendent said the teacher was removed from the school, but would not divulge whether Jones was suspended with or without pay, according to News Channel 3.
“We did take immediate, and what I consider to be, appropriate action as soon as the allegations were brought to my attention, in regards to the teacher,” Hardrick said.
The school resource officer reportedly helped the student to wash his eyes out and sat with him through the remainder of the lunch period. News Channel 3 reports Jones later approached the student, and he attempted to kick her.
“Investigators watched footage from the cafeteria and found Jones aggressively followed the student threatening him,” according to the site.
Jones, who has taught at the school for two years, did not answer the door at her Hickory Hill home when the news station visited.
Local resident Ray McKinney, who lives near the school, weighed in on the incident.
“I think the teacher needs to be disciplined to set an example that parent’s shouldn’t have to worry about their students being attacked by the teachers,” he said.
Parents who commented online seemed to agree.
“If you don’t know how to handle special education students, why are you teaching them?” Cindy O’Dell-Tyler questioned on Facebook. “Sad.”
“So did the teacher get maced yet?” Brenda Henry added.
“The headline would have read so different if it was mine,” Monica Lovinlyfe Weston wrote.