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Benton Harbor mother breaks silence on incident involving teacher

BENTON HARBOR, Mich – Benton Harbor Charter Academy mother broke her silence on an incident where a teacher allegedly threw a chair in a classroom that hit a student. 

11-year-old Benton Harbor Charter Academy student Antwonisha Johnson said her teacher Thomas Barned angrily threw a chair in a classroom that she says hit her in the back of her head.

“I was scared and when it hit me I automatically just fell and had a headache,” Antwonisha said. 

Antwonisha’s mother Rochelle Washington said she’s not satisfied with how the school handled the November 6thincident. 

“I called the police and a police officer came down and talked to me and that’s when my daughter told them what happened and I told them the reason why I’m calling so late, he took us down to the police station and I told them my statement and that’s when we took it from there and went to the hospital and they checked her and said she had a mild concussion,” Washington said. 

ABC57 reached out to Benton Harbor Charter Academy to confirm the incident, the school confirmed the incident, Thomas Barned termination and released a statement saying in part “Because the matter is now a police matter and the general nature of the incident has been reported we would prefer to let the police do their investigation,” and they added “I am proud of the way leadership responded and how quickly they acted to protect students,” Benton Harbor Charter Academy Area Superintendent Laura Moellering said.  

Washington said she’s not sure if the teacher was specifically targeting her daughter but she said he should’ve reacted differently. 

“I don’t know if he was upset at home or what but I feel like it shouldn’t have happened,” Washington said. 

Washington says she’s not sure if she will keep her daughter in Benton Harbor Charter Academy but if she’s not satisfied with the actions the school takes following the matter she may send her daughter to another school. 

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