ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A teacher’s aide is out of a job Tuesday after she allegedly gave a special needs student a wedgie.
The Pinellas County School Board voted to fire Dominique Armstrong during Tuesday’s meeting following a recommendation from the superintendent.
Armstrong, who worked as a teacher’s aide, allegedly used excessive force on a special needs student at Mount Vernon Elementary School on September 12.
“If it was my own child who was a victim to anything like this, yeah I would have a problem with that,” said parent Amanda Crosby, whose daughter attends the school. She said it was surprising to hear about the incident at the school.
School disciplinary records show Armstrong grabbed the student by his pants, pulled up his underwear, and said to the class “look, [this student] has a wedgie.”
This was not the first time she faced those complaints. FOX 13’s Briona Arradondo asked Pinellas County School spokesperson Lisa Wolf why Armstrong was allowed to stay in the classroom after at least one other complaint of excessive force.
“She was allowed to stay in the classroom because we believe in fairness of our employees. And we want each claim to be fairly investigated,” said Wolf.
According to school administrators, someone complained about excessive force in March 2017, but no evidence was found. Then in March 2018, the school district said she grabbed a student by a shirt, then was sent a coaching memo followed up by training.
Last month, it was the wedgie claim and other incidents of excessive force that made the school look toward harsher discipline.
“When you think about four times it being an incident, I think that’s too many,” said Crosby. “I think if there were opportunities for her to change the behavior, I think that’s definitely the right step. But I would agree that needs to be changed immediately.”
Later in September, Armstrong further violated school policies. Disciplinary records show the assistant principal found her on her cellphone and drawing pictures in the classroom. When she was told to do her job, Armstrong said, “I am not doing anything today” and refused to leave the school for the day when she was asked.
Pinellas County Schools said Armstrong tried to resign Monday, but it was rejected because the superintendent already made the recommendation to dismiss her.
The school district said her actions are unacceptable.
Pinellas County Schools said Armstrong will not be hired by the school district in the future.