Pat Frost, an English as a second language teacher for Anson High School in North Carolina, may lose her job after admitting to slapping a student during a dispute over saggy pants.
Frost was suspended after the incident occurred in June, and the district is still investigating the charges. At the time, she reportedly stopped 18-year-old Johnathan Smith to tell him to pull up his sagging pants. But Smith didn't comply, allegedly telling the teacher to "get the [expletive] out of his way" and shoved past her, WBTV reports.
When Frost followed him outside, reportedly to record his name, the teen began to charge at her, yelling that he would "[expletive] her up."
Smith told WSOC-TV, however, that he did pick up his pants and told the teacher his name -- but Frost didn't believe him.
"I never thought a teacher would lay her hands on me," Smith told the station.
Frost's attorney argues that Smith refused to give his real name and repeatedly threatened to assault her. Frost says her blow was out of self defense.
"Fearing she was about to be hit, Pat tried to create distance with the student and slapped him in the face in that effort," according to a letter from Frost's attorney. "He responded by striking Pat in the head. He then took off his shirt and started pounding on nearby cars in the parking lot yelling that he was going to get her fired and hoped that she would be killed."
While Smith denies hitting the teacher, both Smith and Frost filed charges against each other. Frost is waiting to hear the decision from Anson County school officials on whether she'll be allowed back in the classroom in the fall.
"It is not about me keeping my job, it's about teachers being safe," Frost told WBTV. "Children need to be safe, and so do teachers."
The dispute has spurred an online petition in support of Frost, a U.S. Army veteran of 25 years with a 13-year teaching career. From the "Support Pat Frost" Facebook page:
Those acquainted with Pat can see she has a natural inclination to teach children to respect themselves and others and to pursue their dreams. She has dedicated her life to teaching and is an inspiration to hundreds of children, including her own. Her passion for teaching and serving the community is obvious from the moment you meet her.
A Change.org petition calling for Frost's reinstatement as a teacher, and stopping "the potential for retaliation to be acceptable towards those who exercise their right to self defense" has garnered 750 signatures out of a 1,000-signature goal.
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