Tifton paraprofessional accused of biting goes to the NAACP - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tifton paraprofessional accused of biting goes to the NAACP

March 25, 2008

Tifton -- Vivian Hightower says she is the true victim. "You would have thought that I have killed someone. I think that I have been treated worse than anyone that would have killed someone. My name has been drugged through the mud," said Hightower.

Hightower is accused of biting the finger of a kindergarten student at Len Lastinger Primary after an altercation between two students.

"I never bit the child's finger. Never, never put the child's finger in my mouth. I said, how would you like it if someone bit you or bent your finger back. And that was all that happened," said Hightower.

This incident wasn't reported until two weeks later. And the Tift County school board suspended her for five days without pay. "I felt like that was unjust because I hadn't done anything," said Hightower.

"If the child was bitten so severely, why than wasn't she taken to the office and than to the hospital," said Vivian's brother, Pastor Bernard Collier.

After parents complained, Hightower was transferred away from kids to a job answering phones at the school bus shop, then Monday she was fired. "He told me it was because of all of the negative press the school board was getting," said Hightower.

And she now plans to go to the NAACP. "I am saying that it is a racial statement because I am a black woman, the kid is white, the parents are white. Just because they are making a little noise this happened," said Hightower.

The Tift County Board of Education says Vivian Hightower's case was closed and had no comments to make.

"This attack is not on me personally. It's on my family as well that's why I decided to come out and speak," said Hightower. But speaking out apparently won't be enough to save her job.

Vivian Hightower is scheduled to meet with NAACP representatives later this week.

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