Hays CISD 4th grade teacher suspended following claims, recording of ‘demeaning language’ in class


KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — A fourth-grade teacher at Camino Real Elementary School in Kyle has been suspended after allegations — and an audio recording — surfaced that she used demeaning language directed toward students in class.

According to Hays CISD, the school received a complaint from a student about the language. The district says it had previously received a complaint alleging that the teacher, Kathryn Willey, once called a student “a bump on a log” and addressed the concern with the teacher.

A mother named Gracie tells KXAN that was her complaint.

“He repeated a phrase that the teacher told him and it was, ‘You’re as dumb as a bump on a log.’ I know my son had to hear that phrase for him to tell me, because he wouldn’t have known that phrase,” says Gracie, who didn’t want to share her face or last name because she fears possible retaliation against family members who attend and work at the school.

Gracie says after both her son and niece came home crying about Willey on separate occasions, grandma told one of them to start recording.

“Aww, was that so hard? Well why don’t you just do it? So ya’ll want to look stupid on your STAAR test, basically. You want people to think you’re stupid?” the teacher, believed to be Willey, can be heard saying to one fourth grader.

The district says if the new audio recordings are “found to be an accurate representation of what has occurred in her classroom,” it would show a higher level of unacceptable language and tone.

In another snippet of the audio, the person believed to be Willey can be heard berating a student over a math problem. The audio says:

“You’re basically a fake reader because you don’t really want to understand. And reading means understanding. Yes or no? Do you agree? You have to understand what you read. But you don’t want to do that. You’re just pretending. Fake. Faking.”

“It’s hard to believe that a teacher would yell like that,” Gracie says.

She also posted the videos to Facebook and says more kids and parents have come forward.

One message from a parent reads, “That is my daughter’s teacher, she is the child crying and getting yelled at in the first video.”

In the recording, the teacher can be heard screaming, “Why are we crying about it? Why should you cry that you couldn’t count? 1,2,3,4!”

Not only does Gracie want the teacher fired from the elementary school, but she also wants her teaching license revoked.

“She should never be able to teach again after this,” Gracie says.

Gracie has a message for other parents, too.

“Always listen to your kids. If they keep telling you something’s wrong then believe them that something is wrong. Just do more investigating in it,” she says.

Hays CISD also confirmed that Willey would not be teaching the class for the rest of the year and would be replaced. Willey had been a teacher at Camino Real Elementary since August 2013, it said.

On Monday, Hays CISD sent out a statement, saying in part: “Hays CISD strives to provide students with safe and nurturing environments where they are encouraged to learn and grow. All students deserve to be treated with dignity and respect with no exception.”

The investigation into the allegations is ongoing, the district says.

Hays County Moms sent us a tip that led to this report. If you have a tip for KXAN News, send it to ReportIt@Kxan.com.

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