Olton Teacher Vindicated After Student Urination Incident - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/13/03

Olton Teacher Vindicated After Student Urination Incident

"We couldn't believe that he did it," said Olton high school student Jaime Gilliam. She's still shocked at the behavior of Johnny Garza, a junior who urinated in the classroom of LaNell Whitaker.

"All the girls were just turned around, like shocked that he was actually doing it," said classmate Stephanie McFadden.

Garza says Whitaker denied him permission to use the restroom, forcing him to stay in the classroom. His classmates who witnessed the event disagree, listing Garza's three options.

"He could take a tardy like everybody else, he could take an office referral, or he could give her a Whitaker buck," said student Kyle Pittillo.

Instead, Garza took a bottle out of the trash can and began to urinate.

"I think he did it out of attention," added Pittillo.

The action landed Garza in the principal's office. The punishment? 15 days at an alternative school. His parents dismayed, they appealed the decision to the school board. The meeting was held Thursday evening behind closed doors. Supporters of Whitaker feared the Garza's wanted Whitaker fired.

"I'm just supporting Ms. Whitaker in her actions and the fact that a child was allowed to urinate in public is against the law and that a teacher could be in trouble for that is just not fair," said fellow teacher Stephanie Clark.

The closed hearing lasted for an hour and a half. The Garza's left without comment.

"Do you intend to sue the school?" asked a reporter. Silence was the answer.

The board opened the doors for the vote. "The motion is that the board support the administrative action," said the president. "All those in favor raise your hand," he said. Everyone's hand shot up.

A unanimous decision, Whitaker was vindicated. Exhibiting grace in the face of victory.

"I have no hard feelings towards the student or his parents," she said.

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