Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Duval Elementary Teachers Facing 30-Day Suspensions; Accusations Are Slamming Forehead into Desk, Having Stun Gun on Campus

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Duval Elementary Teachers Facing 30-Day Suspensions; Accusations Are Slamming Forehead into Desk, Having Stun Gun on Campus

Article excerpt

Byline: Denise Smith Amos

A teacher accused of pushing a second-grade student's forehead onto a desk and another accused of bringing a stun gun to school are among six Duval County school employees facing suspension or firing at the School Board meeting April 5.

Jonathan Walker, a teacher at Reynolds Lane Elementary, faces a possible 30-day suspension without pay for getting angry enough at students to push one boy's head down onto a desk, causing a "red bruise" and for threatening another student with his belt, a district investigative report says.

Walker, who has worked in Duval schools since 2007, shows mostly effective and highly effective ratings on his annual reviews.

But on Feb. 11, the 30-year-old teacher was having a bad day, according to the report.

Some of his students were saying rude things, including one boy who kept repeating an obscene-sounding phrase. Some students threw things, ran around and punched each other.

Walker told investigators he tried district-prescribed methods to encourage good behavior, such as giving praise and rewards, showing them flip charts about consequences, even taking away recess.

Finally, toward the end of the day, he told the students to put their heads down on their desks.

One boy refused, and Walker grabbed him by the neck or the back of his hoodie and pushed his head onto the desk, the report said. Some students said they could hear a thump; others said the boy had a bruise on his forehead.

Walker said he used moderate force.

When another student yelled, "You are not my daddy and you can't tell me what to do," Walker took off his belt, folded it and waved it while walking toward the student.

"Your mommy may not whip you, but I am not afraid to," Walker said he told the boy.

A student later told another school staff member about the incident. A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office police officer arrived at the school, interviewed students and staff, and handcuffed Walker before releasing him to school district police.

Walker talked with investigators from the Department of Children and Families, school police and the district's Office of Equity and Inclusion/Professional Standards. …

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