A high school administrator who was violently assaulted by students and then terminated by her school district is among the teachers and parents who will be meeting with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Wednesday about how the Obama-era school leniency policy has affected public schools.
Annette Albright, a former behavior modification technician at Harding University High School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district (CMS) in North Carolina, told Breitbart News during an interview she suffered a concussion and multiple bruises from an attack in 2016 by a group of students she had approached about not skipping class.
“A group of about 15 to 20 students had been skipping class that day,” Albright recalled. “They were in my building and I was called to get the students to class. When I got down there and tried to talk to the students about going to class, they began cursing at me and telling me they would go to class when they wanted to.”
“One of the students got really upset because I used my radio to call for backup – she said I was calling the police on them,” Albright continued. “She started threatening me, said she was going to slap me, and then started walking toward me – taking a very aggressive stance.”
Albright, who is now 52, said the student walked up the stairs to where she was standing at the top and began to “chest-bump” her.
“Her brother was right behind her,” Albright continued. “The interesting thing is two of these students in the group had just returned from an alternative school for assaulting a girl at the bus stop.”
Albright said the girl turned and began walking down the steps and that she herself walked down to the last two steps and again told the students to go to class.
“When I said that, she turned around and came back after me quickly and aggressively and right back up in my face,” she said. “When I told her to get back, she slapped me with her fist in my face. I tried to push her and her brother away and, when I did, the rest of the kids just jumped me.”
Albright – who is black – said all of the students involved in the incident were black. No other students helped her as the attack started, she added. Instead, they recorded the assault and posted it immediately to social media. Eventually, she noted, one student ran to get the school resource officer, who ended the attack on her.
The administration, Albright said, blamed her for the assault.
“It was immediately deemed to be my fault,” she said. “I had to have said something to upset the student, or it was my body language. One of the female students said I hit her first. So, I was told they would not press charges against the students and if I wanted to press charges, I could do it myself. They just let the students go.”
Albright told Breitbart News the school district’s Human Resource department conducted an investigation and determined she caused the assault.
“Because I should have known the student was violent,” she said the results of the investigation said. “And, so, I should have remained on the steps. They decided I should have known the student was mad because she had already assaulted me by chest-bumping me, and I should have remained on the steps. Because I knew she was violent, I provoked my own assault.”
“I was terminated for conduct unbecoming a professional,” Albright continued, adding that no officials from the school district would speak to her about the incident. Ultimately, she contacted Judy Kidd, who heads the Classroom Teachers Association in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“She helped me to understand CMS did not want the negative publicity about my assault, and that this was embarrassing to them because they had been saying their schools were safe,” she explained.
In September 2016, Kidd told Fox10 that teachers in the district often feel they are blamed when there is an incident involving them and students.
“They felt the students were in charge and they weren’t,” she said. “And that the side was always taken against the teacher – was with the student. When they went to another county, they found out that’s not the way it works.”
Albright said when the police department saw the video of the attack on her on Facebook, the department itself filed charges against the students. One of the students plead guilty, and three others wanted to go to trial, she explained.
Judge Karen Eady-Williams, who in 2010 was appointed to the District Court bench in Mecklenburg County by Gov. Beverly Perdue (D), reportedly expressed concern about saddling children with criminal records.
“She said if you work in a school environment, you should expect to be called a bitch or a ‘ho’ because these are the kids we’re dealing with today,” Albright reported, adding that school administrators also told her if students called her a bitch or told her to f**k off, she should not report that to the front office.
“They told me, ‘We have to address the big stuff,’” Albright explained. “And I said, but that is what leads up to the ‘big stuff.’”
According to Fox10, Eady-Williams found student Honesty Williams “not guilty of assault” and student Camonte Barnes guilty. Barnes was sentenced to community service and a letter of apology to Albright.
Albright said she was shocked the assault upon her did not receive more serious consequences.
“Ironically, I had been a corrections officer in a men’s prison and an adult probation parole officer over a span of 14 years,” she explained. “I arrested people, I went into their homes and arrested them, and no one ever laid a hand on me. And I go into a school and am assaulted?”
Albright added she believes community groups like the NAACP and some black churches have also put pressure on the school district to stop suspending black students.
“But, I am black, and I know where the behavior issues are coming from, and I think we need to face that fact and walk in our reality and come up with a way to solve these behavior issues,” she explained.
Albright and Kidd will meet with DeVos as the Education Secretary hosts a school safety and climate summit this week.
Breitbart News reached out to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district for comment but received no response.