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Gainesville Head Start teacher accused of slapping child

2:01 AM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
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HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- The first thing you notice about 3 year-old Kendrick Holland is that irrepressible smile. 

When he's having fun, he just can't hide it. His parents say he used to smile the same way about school. But in the last week or so that all changed, after they say they were told one of his teachers quote "lost it" and smacked him repeatedly for not going out in the rain to retrieve a toy. 

"We both were very upset, and as a parent we asked him several times that night what happened," said Alicia Holland.

"And as I talked with (the teacher's supervisor) about the incident, I said 'What do you mean by she lost it?' Well (the supervisor said) 'She lost it and hit him back.' Slapped him. Several times. Yes." 

Gainesville Police say they're looking into the family's complaint to see if the incident rises to battery charges against the teacher.
Officials at the Ninth District Opportunity Inc. Head Start program at the Butler Center said they are investigating but refused further comment. 

What has the parents especially angry is that the teacher was not fired, but was allowed to resign. 

"To let her resign after she admitted hitting him, that was a slap in our face," said Rickey Holland, the boy's father. "Because if you resign, that meant you left on good terms, so to speak, that you could go to another facility and get a job and maybe do the same thing to another kid." 

Meanwhile, the parents are looking further into other disturbing statements Kendrick made about the teacher in the past, accusations they say she assured them were untrue. 

"When he came home and told me that she slapped him, all of that automatically came back to me," said Alicia Holland. "Pinching him and bending his finger back and calling him derogatory names -- the n-word." 

The Hollands say Kendrick is now undergoing counseling in the wake of the incident. 

Earlier Thursday, we also reached out to the Administration of Children and Families, the federal agency under Health and Human Services that oversees that Head Start program. 

We are still waiting for their response, as well as the final decision from the Gainesville Police.

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