PAISD teacher says she was defending herself when she fought a student

A Port Arthur elementary school teacher admits she fought a student, but says she was forced to do it.

Ruby Gunner turned herself into authorities Thursday night, and was immediately released from jail, after posting at $10,000 bond.

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted the 62-year-old on a charge of injury to a child, a third degree felony.

12News has learned that Criminal District Judge John Stevens raised her bond to $50,000, so another arrest warrant was issued Friday.  Judge Stevens cited the severity of the indictment, which alleges Gunner choked the student, for the bond hike.

Friday night, Gunner turned herself in a second time, and bonded out again.

Also Friday, Gunner gave an exclusive interview to 12News.

She appeared composed and strong, she credits that demeanor to her faith in God.

Gunner feels the grand jury did not get the entire story.

She says the 11-year-old student initiated the confrontation, that he went after her twice, by pushing her and kicking her in the stomach.

Gunner says she fought back in self-defense.

She told us, "If a kid is pushing and hitting on anybody, you have this instinct, you are going to do what you need to do to defend yourself."

Gunner also believes she has not had the support of her top boss, PAISD superintendent, Johnny Brown, Ph.D.

Gunner believes Brown has had it in for her because of her involvement in the Port Arthur Teachers' Association, in which she has taken stances against Brown's policy.

Gunner said, "If we cannot rely on the district defending ourselves, we have to defend ourselves.

Brown would not address what Gunner said about him, but pertaining to her indictment, he said, "That matter continues to be addressed in the legal system and continues to be reviewed and investigated as a personnel matter in the Port Arthur Independent School District."

The Port Arthur Independent School District board of trustees will meet next Thursday to discuss the future of Gunner's job status.  She's currently on paid leave.

Members of the Teachers' Association plan to be at the administration building at 5 p.m. that day to show their support for Gunner.

Gunner has been with PAISD as a teacher for 40 years.  She was at Franklin Elementary for 35 years, and has spent the past five years at Lee Elementary.



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