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Civil Rights Complaint Filed In Pencil Shavings Incident

Arlington Student Abuse Pencil Sharpener
(credit: CBS 11 News)

Update 9:15 p.m.

An Arlington teacher is back on administrative leave after pouring pencil shavings into a student's mouth, last month.

The mother of the Boles Junior High student has now filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights office.'

The teacher was initially suspended after the incident, and apologized when she returned to the classroom.

The district says it's now taking another look at the case.


ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) -- A federal civil rights complaint has been filed against Arlington ISD by the mother of a boy who had pencil shavings poured into his mouth by his teacher.

Deidre Brown, the mother of 13-year-old Marquis Jay, filed a complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against the district.

The 8th grade student at Boles Jr. High School in Arlington says a teacher poured the pencil shavings in his mouth in January. The teacher was handed down a brief suspension following the incident, but has since returned to work.

Local Civil Rights Activist Kyev Tatum is representing the family in the case and says the complaint charges the district didn't handle the teachers actions appropriately, that the boy involved was discriminated against because of his race and disability, and that the school was trying to coverup the whole thing.

"Instead of coming out clean and saying we don't tolerate this, they decided to cover it up and let her go back to class," said Tatum. "There's no difference between what they did and the administration at Penn State [University] did."

The family and Tatum believe the actions of the teacher were motivated by race and that she should be terminated by the district.

"From what my son told me, he was the only black student in the class that day," said the boy's mother.

A teachers union representing the teacher involved denies the allegations and says the district handles the situation appropriately.

"I don't see anywhere where this is being covered up. It was fully investigated," said Steven Poole with the United Educators Association, a group representing the teacher.

Steven Poole on KRLD

Steven Poole, United Educators Association

Arlington ISD says it will not comment on the case.

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