Laredo, TX – The elementary school teacher found guilty of instructing her kindergarten class line up and slap a kid because of his alleged bullying has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Cynthia Ambrose was found guilty of official oppression in June after an incident that was reported by another teacher.
Last May, Barbara Ramirez, a teacher at Salinas Elementary, witnessed 6-year-old Aiden Neely hit another student. Ramirez asked fellow teacher Ambrose how she should handle it, and Ambrose came up with a terrible idea.
Her idea consisted of having the boy sit in her classroom and then instructing her 24 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.”
What initially started off as light pats, ended at Ambrose’s insistence. “It started out as a pat,” Ramirez said. “Then she told the class, ‘Come on, hit him harder.’” The hitting didn’t stop until the seventh student hit Aiden so hard that he 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. 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 reached 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.”
On Tuesday, Ambrose was sentenced to 30 days in jail and must serve two years’ probation. District Judge Sid Harle said he wanted to prevent Ambrose from teaching for two years, the maximum probation term allowed.
Ambrose cried when she was handcuffed and told the courts she was not a nasty person and “I hope and pray that all parties involved find peace.”
She actually got lucky, as she could have been spending 90 days in jail. The state prosecutor settled for 30 only because the judge imposed probation on Ambrose.
As for Ramirez, she was placed on three days’ administrative leave and was issued a letter of reprimand because she waited so long to report the incident.Tags: Assault, bully, Crime, Cynthia Ambrose, Salinas Elementary, school, slap, teacher, Texas