Princeton Schools celebrated teacher’s retirement, something it now says was in error
A Princeton elementary school gym teacher was making news last week after video surfaced on social media showing a student being hit by a hockey stick.
The teacher, identified as Kim Neubauer, is seen in the March 2022 video throwing a hockey stick at the 8-year-old child at the end of a school gym class.
The child’s mother, Jodi Johnson stated in a series of Facebook posts and on WCCO TV news that her son suffered facial injuries- including a tooth that was knocked out.
Johnson says she got backlash from the school district after first addressing the issue with school district officials and was eventually fired from her job as a school district paraprofessional.
Johnson did not respond to a Union-Times request for an interview.
Johnson was not only upset about the physical abuse suffered by her child, but by the fact that Neubauer was celebrated for her 27 years as a teacher on Facebook by the school district for being part of the retirement class of 2022. After Johnson went public with her disdain for the school district social media post honoring Neubauer, the District pulled the post from its Facebook page.
The District then issued a statement that Neubauer’s employment with the District ended on June 3 and as a result, Neubauer is no longer an employee of the District.
The school district statement went on to say that after receiving a complaint regarding Neubauer, the teacher was put on administrative leave. After completing its investigation, the District “acted quickly and decisively. As of April 8, 2022, Ms. Neubauer was placed on an unpaid leave of absence for the remainder of the school year,” according to the school district statement.
In the video, the boy is seen putting a hockey stick in a pile. When the boy puts the hockey stick in the pile, Neubauer is seen picking up the hockey stick and throwing it back at the boy.
“I can assure you she threw that stick hard and with force from only a few feet away,” Jodi Johnson stated in one of her Facebook posts.
“She continued to yell at him after the injury took place. She didn’t run to him, didn’t apologize, nothing in a caring manner,” she stated.
Johnson said her son is mentally and emotionally suffering after the trauma of being hit and injured by his teacher.
Jodi Johnson says that from the moment the incident happened, the teacher lied about the incident- even to the school nurse.
That resulted in Johnson getting an inaccurate report from the nurse regarding what happened to her son.
“My poor child was sitting in a chair alone, covered in blood, crying crocodile-sized tears,” she said on Facebook. “Can you imagine an eight-year-old child being assaulted to that degree and then everyone around him lying about it?”
The boy was the only one telling the truth the whole time, Johnson stated in her Facebook post.
“He told me, ‘No Mom, the teacher threw the stick at me. I didn’t do anything’,” Johnson posted.
Johnson says all the reasons for why the assault could have happened entered her mind- until she saw the video.
“Until I saw the video myself, I was thinking no way, this had to be a mistake, she wouldn’t purposely throw a stick at a child (Oh heck yes she did!),” she continued.
“I cried. Oh I cried so much,” Johnson said after seeing the video.
“Imagine this innocent child doing nothing- having fun in gym class- and then having a teacher/trusted adult throw something with so much force it knocked his tooth right out and split his lip open,” Johnson stated.
The boy needed dental care following the incident, Johnson stated.
Johnson said she is disappointed in how the school district reacted to the incident.
At first the school district was nothing short of supportive of the boy and his wellbeing after the incident.
“So kind. So caring,” she stated.
“But now they have turned their backs on us and put up cement walls to the sky,” Johnson stated.
“A district I once loved and supported whole-heartedly has turned their backs on us,” she continued.
The school district posted a statement on its website addressing the incident.
“Student safety is the top priority of the Princeton Public School District. When the District receives a complaint related to student safety, we investigate immediately and take appropriate action to address any substantiated concerns. In those rare situations in which a staff member’s conduct creates or contributes to a dangerous situation, the District may take action to end the employment relationship. In addition, the district may file a report with the Minnesota Department of Education and report to law enforcement.
“We love our students and we work tirelessly to protect and support them. We welcome and value parent feedback and recognize that together we are stronger and better equipped to respond to any safety concerns that may arise.”
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org