SANTA MONICA (CBS) — Westside civil rights advocates urged district officials on Friday to remove a Malibu high school teacher for allegedly repeatedly slapping an African-American student in class.
Dionne Evans, a ninth-grade student at Malibu High, filed a police report last week claiming that teacher Jennifer Gonzalez slapped her in the face six times because she forgot to bring a notebook to class.
The incident came up during a school board meeting on Thursday night in Santa Monica, but Superintendent Sandra Lyon of Santa Monica-Malibu USD warned against jumping to conclusions as the district continues to investigate Evans’ claim.
“We have no indication whatsoever that this is a racial incident, and we are investigating it thoroughly as we do anything that comes to us when a parent has concern about the safety of their student,” said Lyon.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” said Darrell Goode, NAACP Santa Monica Branch President. “So we’re pushing the district to do a full-blown administrative investigation.”
Gonzalez — who also reportedly referenced a scene in the movie “Bridesmaids” when she slapped the student — remains on the job pending the outcome of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigation.
One mom told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO any learning environment where students are physically abused is unacceptable.
“These need to be safe, nurturing places for our children to be into they have to go out into the world,” she said.