Teacher shouldn’t return to classroom

Published 6:12 pm Saturday, December 10, 2016

Some people just shouldn’t be teachers.

One of those people is Linda Winters-Johnson.

Winters-Johnson was caught on video dragging a special education student by the hair across a gym floor in Greenville.

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Earlier this week, she was barred from the classroom for 12 years by the state’s Teacher Licensure Commission. It should have been a lifetime ban.

A grand jury has also indicted her on a misdemeanor charge of abusing a vulnerable person. Hopefully, justice will be served.

The teacher tried to argue that the video showing the incident was only part of the story. She said she was trying to prevent the student from harming herself. Thankfully, the commission didn’t buy it.

Teachers are human, and they are prone to mistakes just like the rest of us. But this incident crossed a line.

“I am an imperfect human who has made a grave mistake,” she told the Teacher Licensure Commission.

We don’t doubt she regrets her actions and is sorry for them, but dragging a student by the hair is something you simply can’t come back from. Or at least you shouldn’t be allowed to.

We understand that teachers have a difficult — and sometimes impossible — job. But no teacher who cares for students behaves the way Winters-Johnson did.

We can’t imagine the anger and disappointment this student’s parents felt. Imagine if a teacher had done this to your child. Would you think a 12-year teaching ban is enough?

Raina Lee, a lawyer who handles educator misconduct proceedings for the state, said it was the longest such sanction she’d seen, The Associated Press reported. Mississippi has no legal provisions for permanently revoking a teacher’s license, although department officials say they plan to ask lawmakers for that power.

After this case, it’s clear the state needs such a provision.