LAWRENCE, Kan. – A former Kansas teacher has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and a year of probation after she was caught on surveillance camera kicking a 5-year-old kindergarten student in the school library in February 2019, court records obtained by Inside Edition Digital show.
Crystal Smith, 55, was handed a 30-day jail term after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery during a hearing last week in Johnson County District Court.
Security camera footage from Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School in Shawnee, Kansas shown in court showed a 5-year-old girl who had crawled into a bookshelf opening. Smith pulled her out, then kicked the girl as she lay huddled on the floor.
The girl told her mother what had happened after she got home, according to a federal civil lawsuit filed against the teacher and the school district by the child’s family, obtained by KCTV. The mother of the victim confronted the teacher, who initially denied kicking her daughter, according to the report. The mother then reportedly asked for surveillance footage of the incident, which was turned over.
Dan Zmijewski, an attorney representing the family of the victim, told Inside Edition Digital that the child has “PTSD” from the incident and is “significantly scarred” because of what happened. He said that the child is “afraid to go near a library, any library, including public libraries not just school libraries” after what happened.
Zmijewski said that the family is seeking damages in their federal lawsuit, which “we will present to the jury and let them decide” the monetary amount. The lawsuit claims, in part, that the school district was negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of its teacher. In court papers, the school district denies those allegations. Zmijewski says the case will not have a trial date until sometime next year.
“There is currently a lawsuit pending, and as such, it would not be appropriate to make any comment about this case,” David A. Smith, Chief Communications Officer for Shawnee Mission School District, told Inside Edition Digital in an email. “The Shawnee Mission Board of Education fired Ms. Smith in March of 2019, at the first Board meeting after the incident during which it was able to act.”