The video appears to show the Texas teacher throwing a student against a wall

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) – A Round Rock administrator is no longer working at a school for special education students after surveillance video showed him grabbing a 14-year-old student and then throwing him into a room where the student hit him head against the wall.

As of May, the Texas Education Agency said it was investigating the administrator for misconduct, though the agency said it could not share the nature of the investigation.

The Round Rock Independent School District said its investigation into the incident is complete, but said the outcome is a confidential personnel matter.

District officials said the administrator is still employed and works on administrative projects in the central office, but is no longer assigned to the campus where the incident occurred.

The student’s mother, Tatiana Alfano, provided email records showing that on the day of the incident, school officials said her son was sent to the “cooling room” at the district’s GOALS Learning Center, a campus for special needs students with primary emotional disabilities disturbance.

According to an email from the school’s director of special education services, the student was sent to the room for “yelling at the teacher and using profanity directed at the teacher.” Video from a hallway surveillance camera shows the student trying to push two female teachers to get back into the classroom. The teachers then take him by the arms and escort him to the cooling room.

A second video shows the student leaning against the wall of the cooling room with his arms crossed while the two teachers stand in the doorway for more than a minute. Soon after, the administrator goes to the door where the teachers are standing.

As the two teachers begin to walk away, the student begins to leave the room. The video then shows the officer grabbing the student and throwing him back into the space. The video shows the student hitting his head against the wall.

After the student’s head hits the wall, the video shows him get up and start gesturing with his fist at the officers. The video does not show the student punching any staff. The school’s incident report said the student spat in the face of staff after hitting his head.

Soon after, the video shows two of the staff, including the administrator, holding the student down for over 4 minutes. He can be heard shouting “I hate it here”.

The administrator did not respond to our requests for comment.

KXAN obtained this footage from the Round Rock ISD surveillance camera from the mother of the student seen in it. It was originally obtained by the family’s attorney during this case and confirmed by the district. WARNING: Contains video that some viewers may find sensitive.

In the email from the special education director to the student’s mother that day, administrators said “staff moved him back to the cooling room. He fell and hit his head.”

Ten days after the incident, Alfano viewed the surveillance footage, according to email records.

“I thought it was a discipline problem that I had to overcome here at home and I was ready to do it, but [my son] said “no you’re not listening to me mom”. He threw me against the wall’ — and even I rejected him,” Alfano said. “I think he was very relieved.”

“I felt a huge sense of guilt,” she added.

Records show the district reported the incident to the Texas Department of Children and Families on May 10, a day after Alfano viewed the video. The Texas Education Agency said the State Board of Teacher Certification received a report from the district about the administrator the next day, May 11.

“Why did he have to wait until he saw him?” Alfano asked.

A spokesperson for Round Rock ISD said Monday, “Reporting time [is] regardless of when the parent viewed the video. The reports were filed as soon as the district administration had the necessary information through the investigation.

The Texas Department of Children and Families has already ruled out abuse, records show.

“I filed a complaint. I’ve checked this all the way up the chain and several people have told me that it’s just not abuse because the definition of abuse has changed over the last few years,” Alfano said. “The result was that he was not injured badly enough to qualify as violence.”

Alfano also believes it was illegal for the school official to prevent her son from leaving the “cooling room.”

The legal term for the practice of isolating students, especially those with special needs, is “holding out” under the Texas Education Code.

The law does not allow school officials to lock the door to the premises or physically block the exit. TEA guidelines also state that students must not be “physically prevented from leaving.”

Alfano has hired an attorney and said she wants to seek policy and legislative changes because of this incident, including requirements that districts hire mental health professionals after a curfew or timeout.

A 2020 study by the legal services organization Disability Rights Texas found that students with disabilities in Texas experienced 91% of all reported restraints.

“I would take on the whole world for my son. I feel like that’s where I’m at right now. I want to make legislative changes to protect… and now, like I said, it’s bigger than just that [my son]Alfano said.

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