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Beaumont ISD accused of trying to cover up incident of teacher hitting student

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BEAUMONT -

A Beaumont attorney who represents a boy who says he was punched and knocked out by his teacher, says the teacher is not the only one who broke the law.

Attorney Kevin Laine told 12News that Beaumont Independent School District administrators also failed the boy by not contacting law enforcement.

It was on November 8 that Reginald Wells says his math tutor, Michael Fisher, 24, punched him at Willie Ray Smith Middle School.

Reginald's mother said schools surveillance video shows Fisher striking her 13-year-old son three times before knocking him out with an upper cut.

She is pursuing charges and answers.  She says the district has not made it easy and has actually tried to interfere with justice.

Laine told 12News, "Statutory law requires a reporting of this to Child Protective Services and the local police department."

Laine said BISD did not do that and that lack of action could be a misdemeanor criminal offense.

Laine said all BISD did was to fire Fisher and let him leave campus. 

On Wednesday, 172nd District Court Judge Donald Floyd ruled that BISD superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois, Assistant Superintendent Patricia Lambert and Fisher must make themselves available to testify.

Laine has questions about the district's protocol to deal with students who have been victims of teachers.

He says the district has a procedure in place when it comes to students attacking teachers, but not vice versa.

Laine said a district's crisis counselor did not visit with Reginald until a week after the confrontation.

Reginald is now at a different school.

The attorney also questions the vetting of teachers.  He is trying to get Fisher's personnel records, but he says there is no evidence he was certified to be teaching.

There's still seems to be confusion among the attorneys as to whether the surveillance video of the incident can be released.

Laine says the judge ruled that it must be released. However BISD attorney Melody Chappell says the district is protected under federal law from releasing it.

Judge Floyd told us he sees no problem in the district allowing the Wells family or their attorney to view it, but he says as far as releasing copies of it, that might require another court hearing.

Chappell also told us that BISD acted correctly in the incident by notifying Reginald's mother, who in turn notified police herself.

BISD police has filed an injury to a child case against Fisher with the Jefferson County District Attorney's office.  But on November 25, the DA's office returned the case to the police department because witnesses' statements were not sworn statements.

We are told the department is currently working on getting those sworn statements.

 

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