Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0116school16.html
Teacher faces firing for hitting children
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 16, 2004 12:00 AM
Kids were speaking Spanish, board says
The Scottsdale School Board moved Thursday to fire a teacher
who it said hit students for speaking Spanish in class instead of English.
Kim Youngblood, who teaches English Language Learner students, told district
investigators in a report released Thursday that she was enforcing the
district's English immersion program and did not intend to injure the children.
Youngblood, who taught seventh-graders at Ingleside Middle School, described the
physical contact as "a gentle touch on the shoulders or a tap on the wrist."
The Scottsdale Unified School District investigation said Youngblood hit eight
students at the east Phoenix school. The district said the hits ranged from
slaps on the forearm to strikes with a pen. Some children said they were hit
Youngblood, who will be notified that the board intends to fire her, has 30 days
to appeal or automatically lose her job.
She responded by filing a lawsuit against the district Thursday in Maricopa
County Superior Court, accusing officials of malicious prosecution, conspiracy
and libel. She is asking for damages of at least $100,000 and compensatory and
punitive damages of $1 million.
She did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
District officials launched an investigation of Youngblood in April 2003 after a
parent complained she had hit her child. Two other children also came forward.
A school district investigation said Youngblood admitted she made physical
contact with students and told them to shut up.
Youngblood was placed on leave April 25 and has not been in the classroom since.
Other students later came forward, the district investigations says. One student
said that he had been struck numerous times but that he didn't tell his parents
because they had been in the country a short time and the child feared they
would get in trouble for not being American citizens.
The Phoenix Police Department investigated the complaints in 2003 and turned the
case over to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which declined to file
The board said Thursday that Youngblood broke several district policies and
state law governing conduct with students. The allegations were made public
after the board's 4-0 vote to notify Youngblood of its intent to fire her.
Neither Youngblood nor her attorney were at the meeting.