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Georgia school district addresses video showing teacher grabbing child's face multiple times

The school system says the incident was handled a year ago when it actually happened.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Closed lockers in a school hallway

LAURENS COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia school system has issued a statement after a video began circulating online showing a teacher grabbing a child's face.

The video shows a staff member approach a little girl as she appears to speak sternly toward the student. It then shows her face move very close to the child's as she reaches up with her left hand and quickly jerks the child's face to the left facing hers.

The teacher moves away momentarily and then again closes in grabbing the child by the lower jaw and jerking her head to the left yet again. This happens at least one more time in the video, which appears to be a cell phone recording of security video. During the majority of the confrontation, several other children are standing in line with the child who is apparently being disciplined.

Another teacher who stands by throughout the ordeal eventually begins motioning the other children to continue on to their destination. The teacher at the center of the controversy continues to hold the child by the face as the other kids leave.

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The child at the center of the video is wiping away tears at this point as the teacher finally steps away. Eventually, they all walk out of the frame and the video ends.

11Alive news partner WMAZ said it was alerted to the video by several people prompting them to investigate. They later learned that the incident happened at Northwest Laurens Elementary School.

11Alive contacted the Laurens County School District about the incident and received a statement that said the confrontation happened last school year and was "addressed by the school district administration with the parent and with the teacher."

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"Also, appropriate state agencies were notified in accordance with standard procedures," the school district spokesperson stated adding that they couldn't provide any further information due to the confidentiality rights of the student and the parent.

"Other than the social media postings unrelated to the school district, nothing has occurred which would suggest that the incident should be revisited," the statement said.

In a since-deleted post on Facebook, the school district added that it regrets that "any of our students are the subject of pictures posted on social media."

The post requested that whoever posted the pictures remove them.

"In this case, we are not responsible for the pictures being posted and we are vigorous in our protection of the privacy rights of all of our students," it said.

As for the teacher involved, Laurens County Sheriff Larry Dean said no one filed any complaints with his department about the case.

The school system didn't elaborate on any internal disciplinary action taken against the teacher - and didn't identify her at all. Since it first responded to the controversy on Facebook, the school district's entire Facebook page appears to have been disabled.

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