ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A special needs teacher's aide at Mount Vernon Elementary School is out of a job after she allegedly gave a male student with special needs a "wedgie" in front of a classroom of his peers last month.
Dominique Diamond Armstrong sent a resignation letter to the school board Monday night, according to district spokesperson Lisa Wolf. Her resignation letter was sent just one day before school board members were set to discuss her termination on Tuesday evening. However, board members rejected the letter because it came so late in the process and they discussed her termination during Tuesday's regular school board meeting. The board voted 7-0 to approve the consent agenda, which included the dismissal of Armstrong.
According to school district records, on September 12, 2018, Armstrong pulled the boy’s underwear up and said to the classroom full of students: “Look! (boy’s name) has a wedgie!”
The male student, whose age is not being released, became upset, left the room and overturned a table in the courtyard of Mount Vernon Elementary, according to district records.
Armstrong has previously been accused of excessive force four other times at the school but was only reprimanded for three of those incidents. According to the district, the incidents include inappropriately grabbing a student by their shirt in March and forcibly removing a student from a school bus in September.
On September 21, Armstrong refused to perform her job duties. According to district records, the assistant principal at the school saw Armstrong on her phone, drawing pictures and sitting alone in the back of the classroom. She allegedly told the assistant principal, "I am not doing anything today."
According to district leaders, during a meeting with the Office of Professional Standards, Armstrong denied giving a student a "wedgie."
On Tuesday, Pinellas County Schools released the following statement regarding the incident: "Pinellas County Schools expects staff to treat students with respect and dignity. The actions of Miss Armstrong are unacceptable."
Several parents tell ABC Action News they believe the school district made the right call in terminating Armstrong's employment.
"You don't do that to somebody's child," Bionca Sterling exclaimed. Sterling has two sons who attend Mount Vernon Elementary School.
"It was a fireable offense for sure," explained mom Elissa Viera, who has a daughter at the school, "We teach our kids to keep their hands to themselves. There is no reason an adult shouldn't keep their hands to themselves."