9-year-old testifies teacher hit him in face

Woman's lawyers say she did not assault boy during third-grade class

January 04, 2000|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

Fidgeting on the witness stand and frequently forgetting to answer verbally, a 9-year-old boy testified yesterday that his third-grade teacher hit him in the nose last year, causing it to bleed profusely.

Kevin Scott took the stand in Baltimore Circuit Court and accused Barbie Scott, no relation, of striking him March 31 at Rosemont Elementary School, where he was a third-grader in Scott's class.

Scott, 41, of the 2200 block of Brookfield Ave. in Baltimore is charged with child abuse and second-degree assault. The child abuse charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Her attorneys, Keith Zimmerman and Sabrina Willis, say she didn't hit the boy. His nose bled, they say, because he picked at it and it was hot in the classroom.

But Kevin Scott was adamant yesterday about what happened.

"The teacher hit me in my nose," Kevin said, as his mother, Tammy Malone, sobbed softly from her seat in the front of the courtroom. "She hit me with an open hand."

Malone, who testified before her son, said the boy sometimes misbehaves and had been suspended from school before the incident.

Kevin testified for about 10 minutes, often shaking his head for "yes" and "no," prompting attorneys to remind him to answer verbally. He glanced at his former teacher a few times while testifying.

The boy acknowledged yesterday that he was talking to a classmate when he shouldn't have been but says he stopped when his teacher told him to. He said he didn't have a book he needed for class and went to look in another desk that he sometimes used.

While he was searching for the book, he said, Scott struck him. "It went under my arm," the boy said of the teacher's hand. "I ran out of the room because my nose was bleeding, and I was mad."

The state called six witnesses yesterday, including Quentin Scott, also no relation, a classmate of Kevin's.

Quentin, 9, said he couldn't remember what happened in the classroom that day. But after a judge allowed it, he read a statement he wrote last year after Baltimore Police Detective Edward Jones asked pupils to write what they had seen.

"I only saw Ms. Scott had hit Kevin in his nose," Quentin read from the statement.

The state also called Georgia Felix, Rosemont principal at the time of the incident.

She testified that after talking to several children and Scott, she told the teacher that it would be best for her to go home for the rest of the day. Felix said she talked to Scott the next morning and advised her that she should not return to school that day.

School spokeswoman Vanessa Pyatt said yesterday she did not know Scott's status as a teacher. She said the normal procedure would be to place an employee on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the trial.

Zimmerman declined to say yesterday whether his client has resumed teaching in Baltimore schools.

The defense called one witness yesterday, Darryl Evans, also 9 and a former classmate of Kevin's. Darryl testified that while the teacher was talking to Kevin, the boy put his hand up to her face. "And that's when Ms. Scott hit him like that," Darryl said, putting his hand on his forehead.

Darryl testified that he did not see Scott hit Kevin in the nose. He said he saw Kevin picking with his nose but later said he did not see the boy put his fingers in his nostrils. Darryl testified that he did not see Kevin's nose bleeding.

The defense plans to call Scott to testify today, and the trial is expected to go to the jury today.

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