A substitute teacher in Texas was arrested Friday after she allegedly punched and stomped on a student during class. Disturbing cellphone videos of the altercation, filmed by the student’s classmates, have circulated on social media.
The teacher — 32-year-old Tiffani Shadell Lankford — faces a felony charge of aggravated assault, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office said. Lankford was immediately fired from the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, where she’d reportedly worked as a substitute teacher since the beginning of the school year.
“It is unconscionable what this adult did to one of our students,” Tim Savoy, a district spokesman, told CNN in a statement.
In one cellphone video of the assault, which took place during a Spanish class at Lehman High School in Kyle, a woman identified by authorities as Lankford is seen repeatedly punching a 15-year-old female student in the face before she flings the teen onto the floor and stomps on her head.
The victim’s family said the girl has special needs and suffers from seizures. She was treated for severe injuries after the attack, the family’s attorney told KVUE-TV.
It remains unclear what prompted the altercation.
“There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that can justify what you see unfold on the video,” Savoy said.
According to USA Today, the victim’s classmates immediately alerted other adult staff members to the attack. Lankford was removed from the classroom, the outlet reported, and questioned by school officials.
“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,” principal Karen Zuniga wrote in a Friday email to parents, per KXAN-TV. “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.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) also weighed in.
“Conduct like this won’t be tolerated in Texas classrooms,” the governor said in a statement, according to USA Today. “The substitute teacher who committed this heinous act has been arrested and will face serious legal consequences.”
Abbott added the school district would be investigated by Texas Education Agency, which oversees education in the state.