HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Madison City Schools is standing by an administrator after an altercation with a student on a school bus Wednesday, but a local attorney said the situation may be more complicated than that.
School officials have been supportive of the administrator, who was seen on multiple videos hitting a female student after an unsuccessful attempt at removing her from a school bus.
During a news conference Thursday the school system revealed that the student bit the administrator during the altercation on the bus. Still, Huntsville attorney Eric Artrip, who has handled a number of cases involving schools in the area, said what he saw in the video clips was shocking.
“I will say my initial reaction to the video is to be taken aback by a grown man slapping a teenage girl while he’s standing and she sitting, in the face repeatedly,” Artrip said. “That does not seem to follow the policy guidelines as I understand with the Madison City School System.”
Madison City Schools Superintendent Ed Nichols said the girl in the video has been suspended, and no administrator or staff involved has been disciplined.
The matter remains under investigation by the Madison Police Department, but no charges have been filed at this time.
Though Nichols stated that the staff member was assaulted, Artrip said that based on the videos, the student has legal options as well.
“In a situation where a person has been assaulted, especially in a situation where a student was assaulted by an administrator or teacher, then their course of action is both criminal and civil,” he said. “They can press criminal charges and they can request damages, compensatory damages from a jury.”
Nichols stated that the administrator acted within policy until they were being assaulted.
Artrip said he isn’t so sure.
“There are 100 ways to handle that situation, and I can’t think of a legitimate one that involves slapping a girl repeatedly,” he said
📲Download the WHNT News 19 App to stay updated on the go.
📧Sign up for WHNT News 19 newsletters to have news sent to your inbox.
🏆Find today’s top stories on WHNT.com for North Alabama and southern Middle Tennessee.
News 19’s formal request for surveillance video from the school bus was denied late Friday Afternoon, with the system citing student privacy concerns.