Witnesses say Jolita Berry provoked fight
The much-publicized teacher beating case out of Reginald F. Lewis High School last spring is in court this week. And today, a stunning development: Former principal Jean Ragin, school employees and students all testified that the teacher, Jolita Berry, provoked the fight with a student in her art class -- and might have even made the first move. Ragin testified that Berry "pushed" the girl, and "the fight was on."
The later parts of the fight, where the girl is pounding Berry, were captured on a student's cell phone video and made national news as the images were replayed. The girl is charged with battery, and the case is in juvenile court. According to my colleague Justin Fenton, who was in the courtroom today, the defense made a presentation questioning Berry's teaching skills, noting that she was on a performance improvement plan at the time of the incident and a hall monitor was assigned specifically to stand outside her classroom. A special education aide testified that Berry often sparred verbally with her students.
More to come from Justin in Tuesday's newspaper...