Humble ISD substitute teacher allegedly hit special needs student after washing her mouth out with soap


HUMBLE, Texas – An investigation is now underway after a Humble Independent School District substitute teacher allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old student with Down Syndrome on Tuesday.

Humble ISD tells KPRC 2 Corley Peel that the substitute teacher has been terminated.

According to a statement sent to the mother from HISD’s Cambridge School Director Leslie Johnson, the incident took place around 9:45 a.m. when the child was working with the substitute teacher.

While the student was doing her work, the district said she cursed at the substitute. The student’s mother, LaShae Celestine reviewed the surveillance video from the classroom.

She told KPRC 2 her daughter has a speech impediment and was misunderstood.

The substitute then reportedly demanded that the student go wash her mouth out, and handed her a paper towel and soap.

“My daughter was just having a conversation with her, asking her what she’s doing and she said, what’s that?” said Celestine. “I didn’t hear her cuss in the video at all. I heard a teacher that sounded like she was frustrated and upset. She told my baby, ‘I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap.’ She told her what she was going to do. I heard my baby say why? That just brought me to tears because she looked at her and said why? She put the soap in my baby’s mouth.”

Johnson said the student allegedly ‘hit the substitute across the face to stop her from putting the soap on her mouth.’ The substitute teacher allegedly hit the student back, according to Johnson.

“She roughed her up. The video showed that she did mishandle her,” said Celestine.

The entire situation was broken up by a paraprofessional who made the substitute leave the classroom. The paraprofessional also made sure the student was OK, and that she was checked out by the school nurse.

“I have a question for her (the sub), was it even necessary, did you have to go there?” said Celestine.

Celestine said she is pressing charges and has filed reports with Child Protective Services and Humble ISD Police.

Humble ISD released a statement on the incident.

“We are shocked and outraged by the actions taken by the substitute teacher. All school staff should care for students in a respectful manner that honors the partnership with their parents. The district has reported the incident to Child Protective Services and Humble ISD Police are investigating. The district is preparing a report to send to the Texas Education Agency. The substitute teacher is no longer employed by the district. We are offended that someone with decades of experience in education took this action.”

About the Authors

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio, and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.

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