Florida’s St. Lucie County School Board officially fired veteran teacher Dru Dehart after their investigation found that she encouraged six 8th grade students to beat up 7th grader Radravious Williams, WPTV NewsChannel 5 reports.
The incident occurred on March 20, 2013 and was caught on a Northport K-8 school surveillance camera. Footage shows the teacher pointing to the victim, instructing the students to go after him. Williams is then seen on the hallway floor being pummeled by a group of boys. "I looked at them and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’" Radravious told WPTV during an April 2013 press conference . The older boys, ranging in age from 11 to 15, were once Radravious’ friends but were instructed by Dehart to “teach him a lesson.”
Latasha Darrisaw, Williams’ mother said, "He said that they brought him in the hallway, and that they held him down, they kicked him, they stomped him, they beat him. And as he was trying to get away, they just basically like, continued to just torture him." Darrisaw added, "[Dehart’s] remarks was, 'I got my eighth grade boys on you. You're not so tough now."
According to Williams’ attorney, Dena Sisk Foman, the teacher told Radravious to be quiet and the student responded by saying, “I wish I could curse at a teacher.” While Williams admits that he was disrespectful to his teacher, he denies Dehart’s claims that he threatened her. Witnesses in the class confirm Radravious’ account.
The district’s investigative report states that Ms. Dehart, “tracked down the students during lunch and contaminated their memories” after the fight concluded. Police later arrested the six juveniles who attacked Radravious. “As far as we are concerned, they are victims in this too. They were manipulated and they were told to have a certain story,” said Forman. "It is truly unbelievable what happened. A teacher ordered a hit on a child."
WPBF ABC 25 News reported that Ms. Dehart taught Radravious’ critical thinking class. After the attack, Radravious switched to another school in the district.
Law dictated that Dehart could not be fired immediately because she requested a special hearing after the incident. However, the teacher was suspended without pay in the fall. The investigation was completed a year after the incident and the board took only minutes to unanimously fire Dehart. WPTV attempted to speak to Dehart at her house, but she did not answer the door. Dehart has never spoken publicly about the incident and has yet to extend an apology to Radravious and his parents. Dehart’s attorney said that the firing did not surprise his client. The family’s lawyer says that they plan to file a civil rights lawsuit.
WPEC CBS 12 spoke to Radravious’ parents about the board’s decision. “Through the entire situation and even when I got the news, I wasn’t, it’s no congratulations on ether side, because she's suffering and my son is still suffering," said Latasha Darrisaw. “As a person, as any parent, you want some kind of apology. But I guess we’ll get that whenever she’s ready.”
- Crime & Justice
- Society & Culture