The head of a Washington high-school district says he has fired a teacher after video surfaced of him touching a student’s buttock while she was sitting in class.
The video, obtained by the Associated Press, shows Luis Martinez touching a child’s lower leg while he stands behind her in class at Sequoyah High School in southwest Washington.
The student’s mother, Maria Castillo, told the AP she has filed a police report after learning of the alleged incident.
Martinez, who is not named in the police report, has since been suspended without pay and the school district said it is investigating.
A spokeswoman for the district said the district’s superintendent was aware of the incident and took appropriate action.
“We are deeply disturbed by this conduct and are investigating the matter,” said spokeswoman Andrea Schleiter.
The district did not say how many students were in the class, or what school officials said was a problem.
A school district spokesman, Jeff Schubert, told The Associated Press that Martinez is not currently enrolled in Sequoyahs class.
Martinez worked for the school system for four years.
The school district says it is working with the school board to investigate the incident.
The district said Martinez will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
It’s unclear if Martinez has hired an attorney.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Washington State Department of Labor did not immediately return calls for comment.
A Washington state lawmaker has proposed legislation to prevent teachers from being fired for touching students.
The legislation, SB 1418, would require teachers to have “a special training in the proper handling of children” and would also require schools to train teachers on the issue.
It would also allow teachers to be fired if they “inappropriately touch children,” including touching students’ buttocks, breasts, or genitals, according to a draft of the bill.
It does not specify a specific number of children Martinez allegedly touched.