Special-needs student allegedly slapped by substitute teacher

The Vallejo Police Department has launched an assault investigation after a substitute teacher allegedly hit a special needs student at school.

Lyniqueah Hawkins said her 6-year-old son, named Famous Hawkins, was allegedly slapped on the cheek by the substitute last week at Highland Elementary School. Famous is a special needs student who has a speech impediment, a learning disability, and behavioral issues.
“When it comes to special ed. kids, you have to be well trained to cope with them,” Hawkins said. “You have to keep your composure.”

Hawkins said she does not know what led up to the incident, but her son told her he asked the teacher for “some space.” After the incident, Hawkins received a call from school officials. She later found out several teacher aides escorted the substitute teacher to the office, but she said police were never called.

“Everybody is confused as to why it happened and why didn’t the school call the police,” Hawkins said. “Why was she able to leave the campus freely without being in handcuffs?”

Hawkins filed a report with Vallejo Police and the Vallejo City Unified School District. 

Gigi F. Patrick, Chief Human Resources Officer with VCUSD released a statement to KTVU about the incident. It reads:

“We were saddened by this event. On February 24, 2018, it was reported that a teacher struck a student in the classroom. The teacher in question was identified as a substitute, and immediately pulled from the site. This matter is currently being investigated by the Vallejo Police Department, and the district is cooperating in the investigation. We take these matters seriously and safety is our number one priority.”

Hawkins said Patrick did apology for what happened, but she is not satisfied. She wants someone to be held accountable and is looking into possible legal action against the district.

She also said her son loves school, but Famous did not want to get on the school bus Monday morning.

“That’s hurtful as a parent to know my son used to love school and now he’s traumatized,” she said.

The Vallejo Police Department is classifying the case as an assault investigation, but would not comment on the case.