A teacher at Malibu High School is accused of slapping 9th grade student Dionne Evans because she didn’t have a folder with her grades in it, Los Angeles TV station KTLA 5 reports.
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Evans says her 9th grade English teacher, Jennifer Gonzalez, was picking up binders containing student’s grades during class and was annoyed that she didn’t have hers. Evans says the teacher called her to the front of the class and asked if she had seen the movie, “Bridesmaids.” Gonzalez allegedly began acting out some of the scenes, one of which includes a character trying to “knock some sense” into her friend by hitting her on the head.
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“She’s going back and forth across my face,” Evans said. “I felt like she thought it was a joke.”
Evans didn’t say anything about the incident at first, but was encouraged to “speak up” after discussing the issue with her bus driver. Evans’ parents did meet with the school’s principal, but they eventually hired Beverly Hills-based attorney Don Karpel after feeling their concerns were ignored.
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Karpel says that the teacher apologized in a letter. This is what Gonzales wrote:
“I want to tell you how truly sorry I am,” the letter says. “My intention was never to hurt you or embarrass you. Rather, I was trying to reach out to you and help you focus on your school work and motivate you.
“Even though I thought my intentions were honorable, they did not come out that way and for that I am so very sorry. Please know that I feel terrible about causing you pain and would like the opportunity to make it right.”
Karpel says that the teacher’s tactics were humiliating and may have been illegal. He and Evans plan on meeting with sheriff’s investigators to discuss the matter. Evans’ parents want to file criminal charges against the teacher.
“I tried to convince myself that I was overreacting and part of me had felt guilty,” Evans said.
“Then I was like, ‘You can’t be in denial about your feelings.’ Like, I was genuinely offended and I felt hurt and embarrassed.”
The school district has not commented on the matter.
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