An elementary school teacher in Houston, Texas, was charged with injury to a child after allegedly dragging a 5-year-old girl across the ground when the student didn’t throw a fork away.
Jenny Alicia Dominguez, 44, of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) was seen on surveillance video grabbing 5-year-old Fany Castro and dragging her by the hair, according to local outlet ABC13.
The incident at Katherine Smith Elementary was allegedly instigated when Castro refused to throw a fork in the garbage, according to a witness who spoke to police, court documents said.
Describing Dominguez’s behavior as “irrational” and “out of control,” the witness also claimed that the dual language teacher told the young girl, “No seas chiflada,” which translates, “Don’t be a brat.”
Investigators claimed surveillance footage depicted Dominguez grabbing the girl by the arm and hair, which knocked her off-balance before she was dragged to the trash can.
“It made me kind of furious at the teacher and school district, which is supposed to be a safe place for the kids to learn, play, and not to worry about anyone mistreating them,” Castro’s mother, Patricia Saldana, told the local outlet.
Saldana said the girl was left with a small cut and swollen arm after the incident but that her daughter also suffered emotional wounds.
“She doesn’t feel safe. She tries to leave the school. She just doesn’t seem like she was,” she said. “She was happy to go to school every day.”
Saldana also claimed the teacher bullied her in other ways.
“My daughter stopped eating, because she said her teacher called her fat, that she didn’t need to be eating,” the mother also claimed.
“HISD takes these situations very seriously, and the safety and well-being of our students is always our absolute top priority,” an HISD spokesperson said in a statement. “ISD PD was notified of an allegation of misconduct and the educator was immediately reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation. Due to the Family Education Rights Privacy Act and the pending investigation, HISD will not provide additional information.”
Dominguez was charged with a felony for injury to a child but had not yet been arrested or taken into custody as of Friday, according to the local outlet.