LAFAYETTE, LA — Thursday morning the Lafayette Police Department arrested a special education teacher for “simple battery.”
The investigation as to what happened inside the classroom Tuesday where a five-year-old student was allegedly hurt is ongoing.
“We are still in the darkness, and I want justice for my son to see exactly what happened. I need answers, and I don’t need them tomorrow. I need them now,” said Jason Willis, one of the student’s parents.
Jason and his wife Detra Willis are upset because they say no one contacted them about the incident until after school let out when they were told a teacher put her foot to their son’s head between 12:30-1:00 P.M. that afternoon.
“We know Nicole Landry had kicked our kid in the head,” Jason Willis said to News 10.
They identified the woman from a picture as the one they claim assaulted their son inside her own classroom.
A press release from the Lafayette Police Department says 47-year-old Nicole Landry of Lafayette was charged with simple battery and an investigation is ongoing.
“It replays in my head that this woman putting her foot on my kid. He can’t defend himself. He’s a child, not an animal,” said the father, Jason Willis.
The Willis’ youngest child, Pop, has down syndrome. Nicole Landry’s Linked In page says she has a master’s degree in special education and over 20 years of teaching experience.
When asked the Lafayette Parish Schools System about the arrest, Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Gardner said in part, “Lafayette Parish Schools System takes all reports of alleged incidents of employee misconduct seriously. We are supporting law enforcement in their investigation and continuing our investigation into this matter”.
“They have the same feelings, likes, dislikes,” Molly Guidry said about people with down syndrome. Guidry is the media coordinator for the Down Syndrome Association of Acadiana.
She says it’s important to treat a child with the condition the same you’d treat a typical child, “It’s just a little more time and patience, and of course everybody has great days and not so good days”.
The Willis family said they don’t know the details of what led to the incident, only that Wednesday the principal met with them to explain two witnesses reported the teacher, and Nicole Landry was put on leave.
Detra Willis, Pop’s mother, said she wants Landry license revoked, “I would like her not to be able to teach and not to be trusted with any child.”
Pop’s father, Jason Willis said, “If she was comfortable enough to do that to my son, what makes you think she hasn’t done it before?”
The Lafayette Parish School System said, “No additional information will be released as this is a personnel matter into which an investigation remains ongoing.”
We attempted to reach out to Nicole Landry and were referred to her attorney. We have not heard back from her legal team yet.