Florida teacher hospitalized after attack by 5-year-old needs surgery; union says it's child's 3rd attack

A South Florida elementary school teacher who had to be hospitalized after she was attacked by a 5-year-old student in her classroom was so severely injured, she had to be intubated and will need surgery, her union says.

The attack happened Wednesday morning at Pines Lakes Elementary School.

According to the police report, "The incident began when two students in the classroom, 4 and 5 years old, began throwing things around the classroom and at the teachers along with flipping the chairs."

Several faculty members split up the students, and teacher Trisha Meadows brought the 5-year-old into another room.

That's when the boy attacked Meadows, Broward Teachers Union President Ana Fusco says.

"He actually ran and attacked and jumped on her with his whole body weight. She fell and hit her head, which caused the severe injury and other bodily injuries where she is going to need surgery," Fusco told WSVN.

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Staff members then heard the teacher using her school radio, saying she needed help. By the time an officer arrived, they found her sitting on the ground against the wall, appearing to be in a "faint state."

While the officer noted that Meadows was blinking and breathing, he noted that she was otherwise "unresponsive," saying that at no point was she able to "vocally respond or show signs of a response."

Meadows was taken out of the school on a stretcher and rushed to a nearby hospital. She has since been released and is recovering at home, but has not yet undergone surgery for her injuries.

WSVN reports that it wasn't the first time Meadows has been violently attacked by the same student.

Fusco said Meadows has been attacked three separate times by the child, and has had to be hospitalized each time.

"She has been hospitalized several times by this student. It’s not this first time, not the second time, it’s the third time," Fusco said. "The district has failed. They need to get in there and when the teachers are saying, ‘I’ve got this happening,’ whether it’s one time. It should never get past one time when it’s that severe of rage and violence."

She said in one instance, the class was sitting for circle time when the 5-year-old threw a bookcase, pinning Meadows underneath.

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However, charges against the child are not likely because the boy is "under the age of reasoning," Pembroke Pines police told WPLG Monday.

One parent, who did not want to be identified, told WSVN that her child is in the same class, and said it is a special needs classroom. She said the same 5-year-old has also attacked other students, causing black eyes and other injuries.

"You continuously get this from one student, one, two students, it’s an issue," the parent said. "This is not the first time that this has happened at this school, in this classroom. I feel like there needs to be the proper support. This is a special needs class; however, they’re not equipped to deal with things like this."

The parent said she wants something done so this doesn't happen again.

"Somebody needs to be held accountable. The parents need to be held accountable, the district needs to be held accountable, they dropped the ball," she said. "There needs to be somebody held accountable for what happened to that teacher."

The Broward County School Board told WSVN that all district protocols had been properly followed.

Meanwhile, the Broward Teachers Union says it is "unlikely" that Meadows will return to the school.