When Roosevelt Elementary School reopened after the holidays, teacher Rosalind Simmons wasn’t there.
She hasn’t set foot in her second-grade classroom since December 17, the day she says an irate mother stormed in, yelling about her child being mistreated, and attacked her. The parent, identified by police as Shakira Green, was arrested and charged with battery.
But Simmons, who has been teaching for nearly 20 years, said Thursday she’s still not ready to go back and “only God knows” when – or if – it will even happen.
“The attack on me, it took a lot of out of me,” said Simmons, 57. “Now my heart goes out to my kids: where are they now? What are they doing, how are they academically?”
December 17 was the day before school let out for the holidays, and the West Palm Beach school had celebrated with a party. While the festivities were underway, Simmons said, Green’s son got in trouble for being disruptive and then telling the teacher to “shut up.”
Simmons said she was at her computer filling out a referral about his behavior when Green showed up in the room after dismissal.
A Palm Beach County School District Police report describes what happened next: Green yelled at Simmons, asking why the teacher had a problem with her son. Then, according to the report, the mother elbowed the teacher in the neck. The blow, Simmons said, knocked her out.
“When I came to, I was in the hallway,” she said.
Green on Thursday disputed that version of events and said she intends to fight the charge against her. She said she decided to confront Simmons after her son came out of school 20 minutes late, crying and saying Simmons had yelled at him.
While she admits being upset that day, she said Simmons was too, and that both women were yelling at each other. She said she never touched the teacher and resents the attack on her character.
“The only thing Shakira Green is guilty of is being confrontational,” said Green, 30. “I could have handled it better than what I did, but me attacking her, putting my hands on her – I never did that.”
Simmons stands by her story of what happened. She said it was witnessed by a custodian who was cleaning her room and she feels confident prosecutors will be able to prove the battery charge.
More than a month after the incident, Simmons said she has frequent migraines, pain in her neck and flashbacks to Green attacking her.
She’s also concerned about the safety of the school. An angry parent should not have been given access to her classroom inside what should be a secure building, she said, and she wants to know how that happened.
School district spokeswoman Kathy Burstein said the security of campuses is a priority and officials are still investigating how Green got into the building.
“It’s shocking,” Simmons said of the incident. “And the more I think about it, you ask yourself, why me? And it’s very hurtful because all I had was good intentions and that was to love her child, treat her child the way I would want anybody to treat my children.”
Each woman said she was praying for the other.
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