A school cafeteria monitor accused of assaulting a child has lost her job and is now under investigation. That former monitor, LaToya Jones, told 8News she’s not a child abuser.
The alleged incident happened Tuesday at J.L. Francis Elementary School in Richmond. Jones claims the child was using profanity and throwing a fit. She says she was trying to diffuse the situation and not hurt anybody.
“I am not an abuser, I love all kids,” an emotional Jones said. “I don’t want to be labeled as a child abuser, I have my own kids, I have grandkids. I don’t beat them.”
Jones says she was monitoring students at lunch when kids started getting loud.
“I gave them a long speech about being respectful to people. They got louder again. I said ‘all y’all silent lunch, shut up.’ I didn’t know you couldn’t tell a kid shut up,” explained Jones.
After that, Jones says a 9-year-old student replied with profanity. The following is how the interaction went, according to Jones:
- The student: “F you B.”
- Jones: “What? What did you say?”
- The student: “F you B, I ain’t doing nothing.”
- Jones: “Oh, we going to the office.”
She said she then grabbed him up under the arms to tell him to come on. From there Jones says it escalated. She says the boy threw a chocolate milk at her and became uncontrollable near classrooms where other students were trying to learn.
“He’s banging on the dividers, ‘no, no I am not going nowhere with you.’ He throws a temper tantrum and he drops to the floor. I grabbed him by his ankle but I stepped three times.”
She says after that she stepped no further and some teachers stepped in to help. 8News asked why she put her hands on a child and grabbed his ankle.
“He had a temper tantrum like he was a few months old. I wasn’t going to drag him completely to the office, I just wanted to show him like, you better get up, come on,” Jones told 8News.
8News spoke with the boy’s mother. She says that’s not what the school or her son told her. She’s obtained a lawyer and says she been advised not to talk about it but in an earlier report with another media outlet she alleges Jones dragged the boy by his feet to the office, his pants falling down and his head scraping against the floor leaving him with a large bruise.
“When I left that building, he was not hurt,” Jones told 8News.
She has since been was fired, Child Protective Services (CPS) met with her and Richmond police confirmed they are investigating but no charges have been filed at this time. Richmond Public Schools told 8News they can’t comment on an open investigation.
Jones wishes the mother would have come to her first. She said she would like to speak with her.
“I wasn’t out to hurt your son,” Jones said. “We could have talked.”
Jones was just three days on the job when all of this happened. She says she was just told she would be working in the cafeteria. She thought she would be doing food prep.
Jones told 8News she was given zero training or procedures for handling a child who is acting up. In the meantime, she explained that she’s scared.
“I can lose my kids over this, my house, my livelihood, I am not a child abuser.”
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