When a South Carolina school district recently held a special meeting to consider whether a teacher who retired in controversy should be reinstated, it declined to let the 27-year veteran of the classroom return.
But the Anderson School District 1 left the door open, ever so slightly, for a possible return. That's because the school board voted to allow its legal counsel to contact the "retired" math teacher's attorney to find a compromise.
A little more than two weeks after the school district's special meeting, it has changed course and agreed to Lisa Houston's return to Palmetto High School.
"The Anderson School District 1 Board of Trustees and administration are pleased to have Ms. Houston return to her teaching position at Palmetto High School in the fall," the school district said in a statement late Friday, greenvilleonline.com reported.
Houston, who taught at Palmetto High for 27 years, retired after a video spread online of her making physical contact with a student who was sleeping at his desk.
The video shows Houston standing on a desk, gently tapping the student on the face and twisting his head, pulling his hair, stomping her foot on the desk and pushing him in the chest with the bottom of her foot before climbing down.
In Friday's statement, the school district said Houston's actions "were meant to be a light-hearted exchange with a student with whom she had an excellent relationship. The District believes that Ms. Houston’s actions toward the student bore no ill intent and recognizes that Ms. Houston has had a long standing, distinguished teaching career with the District," wyff4.com reported.
The father of the student in the video previously said neither he nor his son asked for disciplinary action against the teacher, and according to a police report he said he did not believe Houston was trying to injure his son and that he "felt like the incident was done in humor," according to foxcarolina.com.
"Both the District and Ms. Houston respect and value the student involved in this matter and his family and appreciate the manner in which they have responded to this situation," the school district's statement said. "Both the District and Ms. Houston are happy with this outcome and look forward to a smooth ending to the school year that will allow Palmetto High School students to remain the proper focus."
Houston immediately retired after an inquiry into the incident was held two weeks ago, according to wspa.com.
Her attorney, Ryan Beasley, said she was was forced to resign, according to independentmail.com.
Turmoil followed her resignation, as current and former students mounted a social media campaign to voice their support for the teacher, including launching an online petition, and held marches and protests demanding Houston be allowed to return to her classroom.