GREENVILLE, MISS– A former Greenville High School teacher has been indicted on abuse charges after two viral videos emerged in September.
Now Linda Winters-Johnson has been indicted, and charged with abuse of a vulnerable person. Winters-Johnson was let go from the Greenville High School after videos of the abuse circulated around Facebook. If convicted, Winters-Johnson is looking at one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The first video, taken by a Greenville High School student, appears to display Winters-Johnson grabbing a student with special needs by her hair and dragging her across the floor.
In the second video, shown below, the former teacher is seen holding the student’s arm, before prompting that student to her lap, while she wraps her arms around her.
With the student in her lap, the teacher then scoots her rolling chair across the gymnasium, as the student’s legs drag into front of her, and she is bent backwards.
Following the videos’ release, outrage began to circulate, calling for action and the reintroduction of legislation.
Representative Steve Hopkins told News Mississippi that the videos were disgusting, in his opinion, and proved just another reason why the Safety for Students with Disabilities Act needs to be law.
“The video, that was just… it tore at my heartstrings,” said Rep. Hopkins. “We have to do something to make sure this never happens in Mississippi again.”
Hopkins said safeguards have to be put in place for the prevention of abuse at the hands of teachers.
“We’ve got to look at our training for our teachers who deal with students with disabilities on a daily basis,” said Rep. Hopkins. “And if it’s not up to par, we need to implement training.”
While teachers are required to have special training to work with students with special needs, Rep. Hopkins said the standards need to be set county-by-county and overseen by the state.
“I’m working with legislation to make sure there’s a plan in place from (Mississippi Department of Education) down,” Rep. Hopkins said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center also called for action.