Patricia Frost, who teaches English as a second language (ESL) in Anson County Schools, is accused of assaulting 18-year-old Anson High School senior Johnathan Smith in June.
Smith told Charlotte news station WSOC-TV that Frost told him to pull up his baggy shorts and then followed him around the parking lot. According to Smith, the two exchanged words and she slapped him. Frost’s attorney, Josh Van Kampen, says the student was the first to get physical.
“Before the actual altercation occurred in the parking lot, the student pushed Pat out of the way when she got in front of him and asked him to pull his pants up,” Van Kampen said. “Minutes later the student exited the building and went to the student parking lot. When Pat followed him out there, he turned and charged at her saying he was going to [expletive] her up. Pat feared that the student was going to strike her. In that instant, her reflex was to get distance between them and she smacked his face in the process. The student then struck Pat on the side of her head.”
Both Frost and Smith have filed assault charges against each other.
Van Kampen has started a Facebook campaign to help support Frost and try to get her job back. She has been on administrative leave from Anson County Schools since the incident.
“Patricia Frost is a 24-year combat veteran,” Van Kampen said. “After she retired as a master command sergeant, she immediately went to work as an ESL teacher. She had an excellent record up until this incident, where she claims she acted in self-defense.”
Frost and Van Kampen met with Anson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Firn on July 17, and now await his decision on whether or not Frost can return to her job. Van Kampen said that Frost was questioned for more than an hour about what happened with Smith, and that Firn’s attorney denied his request to watch the surveillance video and allow Frost to narrate what had happened during the incident.
“I guess it’s easier to suspend and terminate a teacher in that situation than to justify retaining the teacher to the student’s parents,” Van Kampen said. “It appears the only way for a teacher to avoid suspension or termination when a student turns violent toward them is to allow themselves to be a punching bag until help arrives. Our teachers need to be able to defend themselves when they’re assaulted by students; we owe them at least that much.”
He added that if the school system moves forward with Frost’s dismissal, he will appeal the decision.