State education officials are suspending the license of a Greenville teacher caught physically mistreating a special needs student.
A video, which surfaced earlier this year, shows former Greenville teacher Linda Winters-Johnson dragging a special needs student across the gymnasium floor by the hair.
Winters-Johnson was fired from Greenville High School in October, and yesterday a special panel of the state’s Teacher Licensure Commission officially barred her from the classroom for 12 years.
“This was an egregious act and so we did move forward with recommending that it was at least a ten-year suspension,” said Paula Vanderford with the Office of Educator Misconduct at the Department of Education.
During yesterday’s licensure hearing, Greenville High Principal Xavier Hodo testified that Winters-Johnson told school officials that she was trying calm the student down by being "playful."
“I accept responsibility for my actions," said Winters-Johnson during her testimony. "I am truly ashamed of those actions that were wrong and offensive. It is with deep sadness and deep regret that my actions can and have undone my reputation and any good works during my teaching career spanning twenty-plus years.”
State officials say this is the longest teacher license suspension in recent memory. Mississippi has no legal provisions for permanently revoking a teacher's license.