A teacher who was recorded on cell phone video beating a student apologized Friday, saying she was “without excuse” for the attack on the 13-year-old. Listen to the apology…
Science teacher Sheri Lynn Davis, who was fired by the charter school this week over the attack, said she regrets what happened and would act much differently if given the opportunity.
“I apologize for the pain that the result of this situation has brought,” she said in a brief appearance at her lawyer’s office. “I apologize for this particular incident.”
Reagins suffered a black eye and other bruises in the attack. His mother, Alesha Johnson, filed a lawsuit Thursday against Davis and the school.
Davis’ attorney, Chip Lewis, said he believed the lawsuit would bring to light problems at the school that led to the confrontation. He said she was forced to become “not only an educator but also a bouncer, an enforcement officer.”
“There is a fundamental lack of security, of support and staffing for the teachers to provide a safe environment for these kids to learn in,” he said. “And there’s going to be a lot said about that.”
Davis, 40, was fired Monday night after the recording of the April 29 beating became public. It shows Davis dragging the boy by his feet and flailing him, repeatedly slapping him as he is on the floor and tries to cover up.
“There’s no way around this,” Lewis said of the video. “But sometimes there is.”
He said he was reluctant to provide details pending a sheriff’s department investigation. The Texas Education Agency has also said it is planning to look into the case.
Brant Stogner, Johnson’s lawyer, said Davis’ apology Friday was “a good first step for her … accepting responsibility for what she’s done.”
“Obviously, she agrees what she did was wrong, uncalled for and inexcusable,” he said.
Sue Davis, a spokeswoman for the school who is not related to the teacher, said she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.
“We do believe we handled the situation completely appropriately, in an appropriate time and we stand by our actions,” she said.
Lewis said a fight in the hallway that was not related to Davis’ duties started the sequence of events.
“She saw no one was addressing the fight, she went with another teacher to break it up,” Lewis said. While she was in the hall, she heard her classroom door “not only shut, but lock.”
“And that’s when a sense of panic came over Miss Davis,” Lewis said, adding that among the students behind the locked door was a female “special needs child.”
He said Davis became shook the door until she caught the attention of a student who opened it. Lewis said that is when the recorded incident begins.
“We don’t have an excuse; we have an explanation as to what was going on — months, weeks, days,” he said. “The cumulative effect of these teachers dealing with this is so untenable and contrary to a learning environment. It weighed on her.
“It doesn’t excuse. There’s no way Sheri would ever say it excuses her ultimate reaction.”
Lewis said Davis had also met with Johnson, the child’s mother, and apologized.
Johnson said Thursday she was upset the teacher had put her hands on her son.
“I don’t even beat on my son, so what makes you think you can?” she said.
Johnson said she has taken her son out of the school. Lewis said he wasn’t seeking to place any blame on the boy, but noted he had been expelled earlier and was allowed to return.
“I’m sad because I didn’t think she was going to hit me like that,” the boy said Thursday.
Court records show Davis, who has sons aged 14 and 4, is facing an unrelated criminal charge in which she is accused of slashing the tires of another woman’s car with a knife in January 2009.
Lewis described that as the result of a “personal relationship” and said Davis was unaware of the charge until he began investigating her background. She turned herself in on that charge, posted a $1,000 bond Tuesday and faces a court hearing next week.
(The Associated Press)