• Teacher denies hitting 5-year-old girl in the eye with ruler: 'Her eczema was acting up'

    By: Alexa Lorenzo, Fox13Memphis.com

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A 5-year-old student from Memphis, Tennessee, reported a “major infraction” against her Cummings Elementary kindergarten teacher. She told school administrators the teacher hit her over the eye with a ruler. 

    Hailey Turner’s mother told WHBQ last week that the teacher – Tierra Lewis – was back in the classroom less than two weeks after the incident. 

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    “No one should be able to hit my daughter in her eyes without, you know, receiving any consequences or me not knowing the actual story of what happened,” said Ciara Morgan, Turner’s mother

    WHBQ got the family the answers they’ve been wanting after they said the Cummings Elementary principal refused to meet with them. We received the documents the Shelby County School District filed in the case.

    The report details an “allegation of overly aggressive use of force with a student.” 

    It goes on to say an adult heard the “pop” sound of Lewis hitting the student, but Lewis denies it all. 

    Turner’s mother said Lewis called Hailey’s aunt and said, “It was a rash. Her eczema was acting up.”

    Lewis told labor relations that Turner’s skin was irritated because of her eczema. Lewis admitted to applying ointment on Hailey’s eye that she didn’t have permission to use, officials said.

    When asked what the ointment is for, Lewis reportedly replied: “I’m not sure what it’s used for – healing or whatever.”


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    Turner’s family said it was not eczema. 

    "I actually cried because she had a big bruise around her eye," Morgan said.

    The SCS labor relations adviser wrote to Lewis: “I do not find that you were being honest.” 

    Lewis, who had been removed from the classroom for six days, was suspended without pay for two days. Now she is back at the school. 

    Lewis has less than a year and a half of teaching experience. The Tennessee Department of Education is now reviewing the incident and will decide if Lewis can keep her license. 

    The girl’s family decided to remove her from Cummings Elementary for good. She is now at a different elementary school. 

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