A fourth grade teacher at Pittsburgh King PreK-8 was hospitalized Wednesday after being followed and beaten by a student’s mother after confiscating the child’s cell phone during class.
Daishonta Marie Williams, 29, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with aggravated assault, stalking, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.
The victim, identified as 46-year-old Janice Watkins, confiscated Williams’ daughter’s phone Wednesday when the girl was using the phone during class. Pittsburgh King has a no-cell-phone policy during school hours. After confiscating the girl’s phone, the child retaliated by biting her teacher.
At 3:15 p.m., Williams allegedly went up to the school to see the teacher and threatened her that she would “get even” for disciplining her daughter. Williams would later tell the police she was “getting even” for Watkins choking her daughter when confiscating the cell phone.
Watkins then left the school to go to a local health clinic to have a doctor check the bite. Williams along with a male companion followed Watkins in an SUV. At the intersection of Route 65 and West End Bridge in Pittsburgh, Watkins stopped at a red light and it was at that time that Williams allegedly exited the SUV and confronted Watkins at her driver’s side window where she allegedly threw a brick through the window. Williams then pulled the teacher from her car and began beating her.
According to Watkins’ mother, Betty Davis, two men were with Williams and joined in on the assault against Watkins. The assailants fled after the assault and Watkins called 911.
Pittsburgh police report Williams has admitted to punching the victim in the face but says she did not throw a brick through the window. The unidentified male was her boyfriend, Vincent Beasley, who was trying to break up the fight, according to police.
Watkins lost a tooth in the assault and suffered facial injuries. She was taken by ambulance to Allegheny General Hospital where she was listed in stable condition.
“My heart goes out to the child because what has that mother taught that child? Whatever it is, you solve it with violence,” Davis told Pittsburgh’s CBS.
Pittsburgh Public Schools released a statement on its homepage:
“We are deeply troubled by the violent act against a teacher of the Pittsburgh Public Schools that occurred on the West End Bridge yesterday afternoon, and we are currently cooperating with the City of Pittsburgh Police Department’s investigation.
Violence of any kind against a PPS staff member or citizen is unacceptable, and the individuals responsible must be held accountable for such horrifying behavior.
We know the individuals involved in yesterday’s incident do not represent the many great parents and families who choose the Pittsburgh Public Schools for the education of their children, and we look to our families to continue to support and work collaboratively with our teachers and staff.
Our thoughts are with the teacher who was injured in yesterday’s incident, and we wish her a full and speedy recovery. As the incident is the subject of an active City Police investigation, no further comment will be provided by the District at this time.”