Teacher Encourages Entire Class to 'Bully' 6-Year-Old & She's Paying the Price

Say What!? 72

cynthia ambroseCynthia AmbroseLast May, in San Antonio, Texas, 6-year-old Aiden Neely hit a classmate and was "showing signs of being a bully" in Barbara Ramirez's kindergarten class. Ramirez was exasperated and not sure what to do so she sought advice from fellow teacher, Cynthia Ambrose, 44. Her recommendation: Let the other kids hit him so he knows how it feels to be bullied. Ambrose and the other teacher lined up the 24 kindergartners in her Salinas Elementary School classroom then told them to hit Neely.

According to Ramirez, Ambrose encouraged the kindergartners to hit Neely as hard as they could. The children obeyed -- even those who didn't want to, because they were afraid of getting in trouble.

Ramirez said Ambrose told the class to stop after the seventh student hit Neely very hard with an open hand to the back and made him cry.

This sounds like a perfectly acceptable way to deal with a 6-year-old bully right?


The jury didn't think so either.

On Thursday, a jury convicted Cynthia Ambrose of "official oppression" (a felony in Texas that amounts to a public servant who misuses their position) and she faces up to 1 year in jail. (She was fired from her job last year.) It took the jury only 45 minutes to reach a guilty verdict.

The prosecutor in the case said:

This is not a spanking case. It is so far outside the bounds of classroom discipline to where it becomes criminal.

It turns out this was not an isolated incident -- two weeks after the hitting incident, Ramirez says she saw Ambrose tell another student to pinch a bully for pinching him. That's when Ramirez reported both incidents to the school principal Jeffrey Large.

Large said:

I've never heard of anything like this in my 30 years. I've heard of teachers using excessive force, but never putting students against other students.

Ramirez was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony, yet not everyone is convinced of her innocence. Ambrose's attorney called Ramirez a "pathological liar" and said she was smiling throughout the hitting incident and was taunting poor Aiden Neely.

Ambrose, who worked at the school for 11 years and says she loved kids, described the incident as "out of her control," saying the students surrounded Aiden on their own and one, a girl, slapped him on his back.

As for Aiden, now 7, he said on the stand that he remembers getting hit by his classmates and telling his brothers, who didn't believe him.

Amy Neely, Aiden's mom, wasn't informed of the incident until the principal called her weeks later.

The teacher told him not to tell us. My stomach was in knots. It was horrible. Twenty-four of those kids hit him and he said that most of them hit him twice.

Ambrose's sentencing is scheduled for the end of July.


Here is an interview with Ambrose from last year:


Does watching the video make you feel any sympathy for Ambrose?

Do you think 1 year in jail is adequate punishment for this teacher? Should she get more or less? Do you think Ramirez deserved to be punished too?

Image via ABC News

bullies, discipline, elementary school, crime


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Mrscj... Mrscjones

I bet he isn't hitting anymore kids since he know what it feel like to get hit back.

jalaz77 jalaz77

That a crappy way to set an example. I would be pissed if my kid hit another kid to teach him a lesson. That breaks my heart and teaches those kids that hitting is ok. Don't get me wrong, I will teach my kid to defend himself but to tell an entire class to hit is wrong.

sand008 sand008

The child deserves to be disciplined according to the school policy on bullying. She however is a grown ass woman, what the hell was she thinking??? Teachers are examples

tuffy... tuffymama

Gross. The jailers hired by the government to poison the minds of our future workforce trapped in the public school system are more in need of education and lessons in civility than their prisoners.

Lisa Angelo

She's saying the kids got up on their own and starting hitting that boy; I don't believe that.  In the 1st report I read it said some of the kids didn't even want to hit him but were forced to.  What do the kids say?   It's her word against theirs, I guess.  I know we all hate bullies; but this kid was 5 or 6 and still able to be corrected, nipped in the bud, with talkiing to about bullying.  

Darlene Baker

  I'll bet he knows not to hit other kids again. When I was a kid we handled that shit ourselves. If you hit someone better be prepared to get hit back. To many people are raising spoiled brats and  they don't want their kid getting hit even if their "little angel" hit first. With some kids talking does no good so if they get hit back just a little harder then maye they'll larn to keep their hands to themselves. And YES bullies can start in kindergarten.



OK first off Darlene Baker, you are a sad example of what a human being should be...this boy was 6 years old...yes he needed to be corrected and punished for what he did, but that teacher had no right to allow other students to engage in bullying themselves...this woman is disgusting, and should be in jail a hell of a lot longer than a year...kids are so impressionable at that age, and allowing 24 children to hit ONE student is just wrong, plain wrong...im sure what those kids learned was that its ok to hit another student, and it must be if an adult allowed it to happen right? she did the exact thing that the little boy did.and used children to punish him. it just sickens me to see something like this happen....

kendyd kendyd

Well the only way to stop a bully is to show them how it feels. Babying them or making exscuses for them sure as hell doesn't help.

nonmember avatar Guest

Both of my kids were taught to hit back, and they have. You bet your a** that's where it ended.

Laura Rykowski

They should line up all the parents of the children in that class and let them hit her!

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