An Independent School District behavior specialist was fired after a video of him shoving a Black pre-k student went viral.
In the video, Troy Vann of Snook, Texas, pushes the child into a bean bag chair and then pushes his head back into the bean bag. Vann is heard saying, “Tell me no. When I tell you to do something, you do it, boy.” Vann forces the child to stand back up, only to push him again and then shove him down into the bean bag chair. The child is heard whining during the incident.
Snook ISD released a statement over the weekend confirming that Vann’s employment was terminated.
“The actions of the employee are upsetting and alarming to the Snook ISD administrators and trustees,” the statement reads. “The actions depicted in the video are not condoned or authorized in any way by the school. Snook ISD is working with law enforcement and the Texas Education Agency in investigating this matter.”
Jessica Boson, themother of the child, said that Vann called her and suggested that bad parenting was perhaps to blame for the child disobeying Vann.
“I was in disbelief because I had a phone call from the school saying it was a video, but it was nothing to worry about, they were just trying to get him to sit down,” Boson said.”And then when I seen the actual video, tears flooded my eyes.”
Exzavier Williams, an eighth-grade student who was in the room at the time, filmed the events on his cell phone. According to Williams, the incident had been going on for a few minutes already before he began recording. He decided to film the incident because of “how mad [Vann] was getting.”
“The little kid didn’t want to sit in the bean bag so the guy was getting mad and he just put him in the bean bag,” he said.
Williams tried to distract Vann from the child by asking if he could go call his mother. His mother, Stacy Williams, then called the school principal, Kenzie Bond.
“Exzavier calls me a bit later and says that she [Principal Bond] erased the video,” Stacy Williams said.
Bond stated she erased the video to protect the child’s identity. However, Williams had already sent a copy of the video to another phone, saying he did not trust the school officials.
“It’s not the first time,” Williams said. “They use that word ‘boy,’ you know, and if they want to call it because he’s young, that’s not right. We have names for our children. You give them a name and you call them by their name; you don’t call them ‘boy.'”
Cell phone video has helped bring these types of events to the public’s attention. In April, a school police officer in San Antonio, Texas, was fired after a video of him body-slamming a 12-year-old girl went viral. Last October, a senior deputy in Richland, South Carolina, was fired after he violently arrested a 16-year-old Black girl in her classroom, flipping her desk over while she was still sitting in it and dragging her out of her chair.