Laredo, TX – Last year we reported on a kindergarten teacher who allegedly instructed an entire classroom of students to line up and slap a kid because of his alleged bullying. On Thursday that teacher was found guilty of official oppression.
Last May, 6-year-old Aiden Neely had been acting up in line while at Salinas Elementary and hit another student. His teacher, Barbara Ramirez, asked another teacher, 44-year-old Cynthia Ambrose, what she should do to curtail his bullying. Ambrose came up with the genius idea of having the boy sit in her classroom before instructing 24 other kindergartners to file past him and give him a nice slap.
“He was hit on the head, in the face, on the back. And all the kids hit him twice,” said Aiden’s mother. “He had friends in that class, and friends didn’t want to hit him, but the teacher instructed them to hit him.”
Ramirez said that the first hits were just pats, but quickly escalated at Ambrose’s insistence. “It started out as a pat,” Ramirez said. “Then she told the class, ‘Come on, hit him harder.’” Ambrose did not have the students stop until after the seventh student hit Aiden so hard that the Aiden started crying.
Ramirez didn’t report the incident until two weeks later after watching Ambrose tell another student to pinch a bully for pinching him. Because she waited so long to report what she had seen, Ramirez was placed on three days administrative leave and was issued a letter of reprimand.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this in my 30 years,” said the school’s principal, Jeffrey Large. “I’ve heard of teachers using excessive force, but never putting students against other students.”
Ambrose was let go and “will not be asked to come back to the district in any capacity.” She also had a charge of official oppression filed against her.“This is not a spanking case,” state prosecutor Patrick Ballantyne said. “It is so far outside the bounds of classroom discipline to where it becomes criminal.”
During her trial, Ambrose’s attorney called the state’s witnesses liars. “It took their star witness two weeks to report this and she smiled all the way through — she was taunting,” Sullivan said. “Miss Ramirez is a pathological liar.”
His ploy didn’t work with jurors, who reach a guilty verdict in under 45 minutes. When asked for a comment, Ambrose stated, “I’ve already been convicted by the media when this all started.” Ambrose’s sentencing is scheduled for July 29.