Teacher stands by as Vernal Middle School student is viciously assaulted

Oct 2, 2018, 11:05 AM | Updated: Oct 3, 2018, 12:44 pm
Tanya Hiner says that a schoolteacher simply stood and watched while her daughter was viciously ass...
Tonya Hiner says that a schoolteacher simply stood and watched while her daughter was viciously assaulted by two classmates at Vernal Middle School about ten days ago. (Photo taken from video provided by Tonya Hiner)
(Photo taken from video provided by Tonya Hiner)

A Vernal Middle School teacher looked on and did nothing as two girls viciously beat a classmate.

That, at least, is what the victim’s mother, Tonya Hiner alleges. She says that videos of the beating taken by students show one of the teachers doing nothing to protect her daughter.

Tonya Hiner spoke with KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic about what her daughter went through and how she thinks the school should have reacted.

“I am outraged,” Hiner told KSL. “I am angry that anybody would think that that is okay, to just let a kid get hurt like that.”

An assault at Vernal Middle School

A woman in red, allegedly a teacher at the school, looks on during the assault. (Photo taken from video provided by Tonya Hiner)

A woman in red, allegedly a teacher at the school, looks on during the assault. (Photo taken from video provided by Tonya Hiner)

The assault occurred a little over one week ago, right at the entrance of Vernal Middle School. While countless students looked on, some filming the chaos with their smartphones, two girls wrestled young Sadie Hiner to the ground and viciously pummeled her in the head.

The fight was eventually broken up by a teacher, who rushed onto the scene yelling: “Stop! Stop!” As soon as they were ordered to break it up, the girls let Sadie go.

Sadie ran home as quickly as she could, her mother told Dave & Dujanovic:

”She was bleeding. She was hysterical. She told me what had happened. I rushed back to school, I called the cops, and then I just started getting videos from people that were watching this fight happen.”

In those videos, Hiner saw something that infuriated her. They show a woman that she believes to be a Vernal Middle School teacher, watching with her hands in her pockets while the fight rages on.

She is demanding a school investigation, arguing that the fight could have broken up far earlier if that teacher had intervened.

Hiner says:

“If you don’t want to get hurt — fine. But say something. Don’t just stand there. Don’t just spectate. Tell them to stop.”

The school district’s response

Vernal Middle School, as seen from the outside. (Vernal Middle School)

Vernal Middle School, as seen from the outside. (Vernal Middle School)

Uintah School District superintendent Mark Dockins responded to the story, saying that the school’s policies allow teachers to make a judgment call before intervening in fights. In a discussion with News4Utah, he said:

“It’s based on the situation. If a situation where student safety can be controlled by a teacher absolutely, they’re going to intervene in that. But you also have to take in the situation to make sure that it is safe to do so.”

Mrs. Hiner, however, doesn’t accept the school district’s response. She says the school has told her that teachers have no obligation to help, a claim she has refuted by quoting the school’s own policies, which state:

“Teachers have the authority and responsibility to intervene with due process in all areas of inappropriate student behavior within this school, which includes but is not limited to … fighting.”

School administrators say that they are looking into the incident. At this time, KSL Newsradio has been unable to reach the district for comment.

“Something better happen,” Mrs. Hiner told Dave & Dujanovic. “We send our kids to feel safe, and we want them to feel safe. And my daughter definitely doesn’t feel safe now.”

More to the story

You can hear our full conversation with Tonya Hiner on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Teacher stands by as Vernal Middle School student is viciously assaulted