State Watch

Teacher accused of pulling student by the hair is fourth arrested in district in three months

A 49-year-old teacher is facing charges after allegedly pulling a 12-year-old student by the hair at a magnet school in New Haven, Conn., making her the fourth teacher to be arrested in the district in the past three months. 

Jennifer Wells-Jackson, a teacher at King Robinson Interdistrict Magnet School, was arrested and charged with risk of injury to a minor and second-degree breach of peace on Tuesday, according to local ABC-affiliate WNTH. 

Video of the incident shows the teacher holding the child’s hair as students cry for her to let go. While she eventually lets go of the hair, she appears to push the student’s head after. 

The young girl in the video, Destinique James, said the intercom had just gone off for dismissal when the video was taken, according to her mother, Destinie. Destinique reportedly left the school with a headache. Police said she did not report any serious injuries and declined medical attention, the news outlet reported.

“There’s certain things you say and there’s certain things you don’t say, there’s certain things you do and certain things you’re not supposed to do especially when dealing with people’s children,” her mother said, according to WNTH. “At the end of the day, there’s no justification for putting your hands on someone’s child.”

Destinie says she is still processing the incident and said that whatever happened in her daughter’s classroom could have been handled differently, the news outlet noted. 

Justin Harmon, director of marketing and communications for New Haven Public Schools, where King Robinson is located, told WNTH that the district takes student safety very seriously, noting that they are fully cooperating with the police investigation.

Wells-Jackson has since been released from jail on a  $20,000 bond and is expected to make her first appearance in court next week.

Wells-Jackson is the fourth teacher to be arrested in the district in the last three months, also being the third of those incidents involving altercations with students, according to CBS affiliate WFSB. Another incident involved a staff member bringing a gun to school, the news outlet noted. 

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