An Ohio kindergarten teacher has been placed on unpaid administrative leave for 10 days after surveillance cameras caught her grabbing a 6-year-old student by the face. The young boy’s parents, Anthony and Autumn Nelson, are furious that the teacher will not face a more severe punishment after what happened to their 6-year-old son, Ian.
Barb Williams has been a teacher with Riverdale Schools in Hancock County for 14 years, can be seen in the video grabbing Ian’s face as he is walking down the hallway to use the bathroom. In the video, she can then be seen grabbing the little boy by the shirt, lifting him up in the air, and pushing him up against the wall.
Ian’s father, Anthony, stated to local news affiliate WTOL “I would consider what would happen to myself if I were to do that to her. If I were to do that to her, I would go to jail.” Ian’s mother, Autumn told WTOL, “He was in the other room and I watched it out in the kitchen and I just started crying. I burst out in tears. I called my mom. I called his mom.”
Ian’s parents are demanding Williams’ termination from the Riverdale Schools. They also took the video to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office in an attempt to file criminal charges against the teacher. Previous complaints about Ian’s teacher to the principal, the superintendent, and the school board have been ignored.
Anthony states – “We asked for him to be moved to a different classroom and we said can he please go to a different classroom and the principal told at that time that she’s a highly recommended teacher and they are unwilling to transfer him to a different class.”
The Nelsons say their child went from loving school to hating it after the incident caught on video. Since it occurred, there has been no official investigation conducted by the Hancock County prosecutor’s office, sheriff’s office or child services. It seems to have been a comedy of errors on all parts in an effort to cover up the incident and avoid blame. The case has only used school reports. Yet the incident was caught on surveillance video and even has eyewitness testimony available to corroborate the account.
Three cooks taking a break nearby heard the confrontation in the hallway. They say they heard the teacher yell at 6-year-old Ian. According to the cooks, Williams was questioning Ian about using the bathroom, and then things escalated. The cooks said Williams called Ian a liar and said she was sick of him and his parents, then “growled” at him and told him, “I am going to rip you apart.”
The next day, Principal Julie Spade, Ed.D and Superintendent Eric Hoffman met with Williams to discuss the incident. Williams said Ian had been fooling around when he went to the bathroom recently, so she went to find him this time. Williams said she was furious, admitting, “I was hard on him, yelled at him.”
When Hoffman asked if she touched Ian, Williams replied – “Yes, I touched him on the middle of the chest and pushed him back. I was very heated.”
Williams also told Spade and Hoffman that she had used the phrase “rip you apart” in the past.
“I was loud, in his face, and I pushed him back. I feel like I was over the top/edge. He’s pushing me over the top/edge and my kids over the top/edge. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to do with it,” said Williams, according to the school documents.
The video, dated May 7, was just recently obtained by Ian’s parents, and according to them, the school made it out to be much less than it actually was prior to their viewing the footage.
“We thought it was just a little incident that happened, and that’s what the school made it out to sound like,” said Anthony Nelson. “And then all of a sudden we get this video today and this is just outrageous.”
Anthony and his wife Autumn say their son Ian has a bruise on the back of his head due to being pushed up against the wall by the teacher, and even though the school placed her on unpaid leave for 10 days, they feel she should be fired altogether.
“He’s scared of her,” said Autumn Nelson. “Even going to the school next year or the year after, he will still have to see her if she is present in the building. That’s probably going to scare him.”
Anthony adds that they tried to get Ian moved to a different class following the incident, but school officials refused.
“The principal told at that time that she’s a highly recommended teacher and they are unwilling to transfer him to a different class,” claimed Anthony.
District superintendent Eric Hoffman reportedly reached out to apologize to the Nelsons for what happened, and according to the latest updates, the school has filed reports with the local police department, Child Protective Services, and the Department of Education.