Review of Australian Policy Activism in Language and Literacy

Terrence Wiley twiley at
Fri Jan 16 19:24:39 UTC 2004
Scottsdale moves to fire teacher accused of hitting students

Anne Ryman
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 15, 2004 09:55 PM

The Scottsdale School Board moved to fire a teacher Thursday who it said
hit students for speaking Spanish in class instead of English. Kim
Youngblood, who teaches English Language Learner students, told
investigators she was enforcing the district's English Immersion
Program, and did not intend to injure the children. Youngblood, who
taught seventh-graders at Ingleside Middle School, described the
physical contact as "a gentle touch on the shoulders or a tap on the

A Scottsdale Unified School District investigation released Thursday
said Youngblood hit eight students at the east Phoenix school. The
district said the hits ranged from slaps on the forearm to strikes with
a pen. Some children said they were hit multiple times.

Youngblood, who will be notified that the board intends to fire her, has
30 days to appeal or automatically lose her job. She responded by filing
a lawsuit against the district Thursday in Maricopa County Superior
Court, accusing officials of malicious prosecution, conspiracy and
libel. She is asking for damages of at least $100,000 and compensatory
and punitive damages of $1 million.  She did not return telephone calls
seeking comment Thursday.

District officials launched an investigation of Youngblood in April
2003, after a parent complained she had hit her child. Two other
children also came forward.  A school district investigation said
Youngblood admitted she made physical contact with students and told
them to shut up.

The investigations said Youngblood told Ingleside Principal Ruben Lara,
she "probably should not have done that."  Youngblood was placed on
leave April 25 and has not been in the classroom since.

Other students later came forward, the district investigations says. One
student said he had been struck numerous times but he didn't tell his
parents because they had been in the country a short time and the child
feared they would get in trouble for not being American citizens.

The Phoenix Police Department investigated the complaints in 2003 and
turned the case over to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which
declined to file charges.  The board said Thursday that Youngblood broke
several district policies and state law governing conduct with students.
The allegations were made public after the board's 4-0 vote to notify
Youngblood of its intent to fire her. Neither Youngblood nor her
attorney were at the meeting.

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