Third grade student accused of punching Volusia elementary school teacher

Deputies say student punched teacher

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A 10-year-old Volusia County elementary student is accused of punching her third grade teacher, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies responded to Woodward Elementary School on Wednesday for a battery complaint.

The teacher told deputies the student threw her textbook on the ground in the classroom. When asked to pick it up, she punched the teacher's hand, according to an incident report from the Sheriff's Office.

According to the teacher, the incident was not the first time the 10-year-old had become physical with school staff.

The teacher told deputies she wants to press charges against the girl.

A spokesperson for the Volusia County School District said the incident is being handled by law enforcement.

“We are aware of the allegations. School administration is looking into the situation," a spokesperson for the Volusia County School District said. "Any other questions will have to be directed to the police department.” 

Elizabeth Albert, president of Volusia United Educators, said she has noticed a pattern of students becoming more violent toward teachers.

"I know that it's a trend that's reoccurring, and I think it's a societal issue," Albert said. "We find that maybe our kids are coming to us without those lessons being taught to them, or maybe there is some impediment where they need more support."

Albert said she believes the behavior could be a sign that students are not getting what they need outside school.

"There is more and more children that are entering our public schools that have significant needs, social, emotional needs, and teachers and support personnel are not trained to deal with those needs. We are trained to deliver academic content," she said.

Albert said it would be beneficial to have someone evaluate the situations to come up with solutions that would make the classroom a more positive environment for everyone.

"We should have folks looking at our kids who are in crisis and determining what interventions are going to make them successful, the teacher successful and the environment in which we're trying to educate our kids -- the best environment so that all children will learn," Albert said.

Volusia County School District officials said they have been working to identify those needs and are taking steps toward meeting them.

"Volusia County Schools has been working to identify the social and emotional needs of students at all grade levels. Beginning this year, Volusia County Schools has employed 10 social and emotional learning teachers and 12 mental health experts to help address mental health and behavioral needs of students. In addition, professional development in classroom management strategies for teachers has been a priority," a spokesperson for the district said.

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