by: Jeff Smith Updated:
WADESBORO, N.C. - A high school teacher has been charged with slapping a student across the face in the school’s parking lot over saggy shorts, but the teacher's attorney said his client is pressing charges of her own.
Wadesboro police said Patricia Frost slapped 18-year-old Johnathan Smith across the face before school started Tuesday morning.
She has been charged with assault and will appear in court at the end of June.
Patricia Frost has worked in Anson County Schools for 13 years. She is an English as a Second Language teacher, so she travels throughout the district.
Johnathan Smith is a rising senior at Anson High School.
When he showed up for class Tuesday morning -- just a few days before the end of the year -- he was confronted by a teacher whose face he recognized, but name he did not know.
He said Frost told him to pick up his pants and identify himself. Smith said he picked up his shorts, and then told her his name, but he says she did not believe him.
He claims Frost followed him around the school building before class, even waiting for him outside the bathroom.
"’Wherever you go, I'm going to follow you until you tell me your name.’ And I was like, ‘I already told you. Can you please stop following me?’" Smith said.
He said he went back out to the parking lot, and she followed him. He admitted they exchanged heated words, and then, he claims, she slapped him.
"I never thought a teacher would lay her hands on me," Smith said.
Frost's attorney relayed a much different version of events.
Josh Van Kampen said Frost did not know Smith was a student because his client is not a regular teacher at the high school. Van Kampen also said Smith refused to give his real name.
He also said Smith kept cursing at Frost, and repeatedly threatened to physically assault her.
“’Who do you think you’re messing with?’” Van Kampen said Smith allegedly said to Smith. “’I hope they kill you.’”
When Frost followed Smith back outside, Van Kampen said, Smith became enraged and aggressively turned toward Frost. Van Kampen said Smith was nose-to-nose with her, and she slapped the student out of self-defense.
Van Kampen said Smith "immediately slapped (Frost) back."
According to Van Kampen, Frost said Smith threatened her, saying, “I’m going to f--- you up.”
Smith denies he hit anyone.
The school district is investigating the incident. Meanwhile, Frost is on paid administrative leave.
"With the gravity of the allegations, we want to bring closure to it quickly, but we also want to make sure we are thorough," said Superintendent Greg Firn.
Firn expects to have a final decision by next week.
Wadesboro police said there are surveillance cameras in the parking lot where the altercation occurred but added they have not reviewed the footage yet.
Van Kampen said Frost went to Wadesboro police on Thursday afternoon to file an assault charge against Smith.
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