Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32, was charged on Friday with one count of felony aggravated assault

By Steve Helling
November 11, 2019 05:01 PM
Hay's County Sheriff's Office

A Texas substitute teacher has been arrested after she was allegedly caught on video assaulting a high school sophomore.

Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32, was charged on Friday with one count of felony aggravated assault after the video was posted online, authorities say. The alleged incident occurred at Lehman High School in Kyle, Texas, about 20 miles south of Austin.

The video appears to show Lankford repeatedly punching a student, throwing her on the ground, and even stomping on her head. It’s unclear what prompted the incident. The video was posted by the mother of a different student.

The 15-year-old student was sent to the hospital for evaluation. She was later sent home from the hospital, the family’s attorney told KVUE-TV. Her family says she has special needs and suffers from seizures.

According to the New York Times, the alleged assault happened at 3:45 p.m. local time during a Spanish class. Tim Savoy, a school district spokesman, told the Times that Lankford had filled in 18 times as a guest teacher since joining the district at the end of August.

“There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that can justify what you see unfold on the video,” Savoy tells NBC News. “It is unconscionable what this adult did to one of our students.”

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Karen Zuniga, the school’s principal, posted an open letter on Facebook on Friday. “We take the safety and security of our students seriously,” she wrote. “We took swift action when this incident occurred and will do everything necessary to protect our students.”

Lankford has been fired from the school district. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement condemning the alleged attack.

“Conduct like this won’t be tolerated in Texas classrooms,” the governor said in a statement, according to the Huffington Post. “The substitute teacher who committed this heinous act has been arrested and will face serious legal consequences.”

The school district will be investigated by Texas Education Agency, which oversees education in the state.

Lankford was booked into the Hays County Jail. Bond has not yet been set. Court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on her behalf.

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