SAN ANTONIO – The mother of a child who was subjected to "unacceptable discipline techniques" at KIPP Un Mundo Academy said she has withdrawn her child from the school.
Angelica Noriega said the principal of her daughter's school called her on Friday to let her know that her daughter's teacher had been fired for spanking her in class.
Noriega said the principal told her the teacher, Daniela Martinez, used the charging cable from her laptop computer to spank her daughter and another child. The school would not confirm that detail to KSAT.
"I was in disbelief. I started crying at work," Noriega said.
Noriega said she asked her daughter why she didn't tell her about the punishments, and her daughter told her that Martinez threatened to spank her even harder if she did.
"I'm still trying to cope with this. I don't understand how any human being could do this to a child," Noriega said.
Noriega said she plans to pursue criminal charges.
"I want to make sure this teacher never, ever gets near another child again," Noriega said.
Several parents who heard of the incident were outraged.
"It's not right. We know it's not right to treat children that way," said Julio Garcia, a parent.
"It's wrong. We trust these people to teach our kids," said Jennier Gaytan, a parent.
Officials with KIPP said Martinez had been employed at the school for five years.
In a letter to parents (click here to read it), Principal Lorraine Bernal wrote they had contacted law enforcement and Child Protective Services to report the incident.
KSAT 12 News was unable to confirm the status of any investigations resulting from those reports, although San Antonio police said a detective had been assigned to a report that Noriega said she filed on her own.
However, SAPD spokesman Ofc. Doug Greene noted that school policies may differ from law enforcement policies, referencing a Texas statute that permits teachers to use force if they reasonably believe it is necessary to maintain discipline in a group.
So even if the alleged "discipline techniques" weren't kosher with KIPP, SAPD would still need to determine if the techniques broke the law.
A kindergarten teacher at KIPP Un Mundo Academy has been fired for "unacceptable discipline techniques."
School officials sent a letter home to parents last week informing them that Daniela Martinez had been terminated.
The letter stated that the discipline techniques Martinez used violated the employee code of conduct at the school.
"Ms. Martinez no longer works for KIPP Texas Public Schools. We have contacted law enforcement and Child Protective Services to report the incident," the letter stated.
School officials confirmed the termination in a statement to KSAT.
KIPP Un Mundo is a K-4 grade dual language academy on Commerce Street, west of downtown. The school's website says there are 40 teachers and 636 students at the school.