GREENVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Greenville Independent School District has placed one of their teachers on administrative leave, and is conducting an investigation after a photo surfaced of one of their staff members with their foot on a student’s neck.
Wednesday morning, April 21, Greenville ISD sent an apology letter to parents.
GISD Superintendent Demetrus Liggins says the photo was very disturbing. “My initial reaction was first concern for the child, followed by immediate disgust by the image.”
The Jackson family, however, has mixed opinions on the image. The 11-year-old in the photo, Zaelyn Jackson, says he thought it was all a joke.
For context, his mother says she has known the teacher as a family friend for years.
Zaelyn says it was taken while laughing, without realizing what it may look like to others.
“People think she was trying to copy George Floyd’s death,” Zaelyn said. “I feel like she was just playing, it didn’t mean any harm.”
But his aunt, Lakadren Jackson, was deeply unhappy with the photo.
“No matter what race, no matter what person you don’t put your foot on someone else’s child, period,” Lakadren said.
The Superintendent says, joke or not, it should never have happened.
“Whether the student was a willing participant or not, whether it was a staged picture or not, it was still extremely, highly inappropriate and should not have taken place and definitely should not have been photographed.”
And though the teachers fate remains unclear, Zaelyn says he wants her back at school.
“I don’t think she should be fired,” he said.