Substitute Teacher Allegedly Bribed Students to Attack Classmate: Police

A substitute teacher has been arrested for allegedly offering students money to bully their classmate, detectives announced on Monday.

Aadrina Smith, 24, organized the alleged attack at North Caddo Elementary Middle School in Vivian, Louisiana, where she was a substitute teacher. During a P.E. class on August 23, she allegedly offered to pay five different students $5 each to tackle their classmate, said the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.

Video obtained by the sheriff's office showed Smith speaking with five students and appearing to congratulate three of them. Those three middle schoolers then tackled their classmate, who lay on the gym floor while the substitute teacher watched. Smith never helped the victim or reported the incident.

"The term I got was they 'jumped' her," sheriff's office spokesperson Bia Roldan told Newsweek.

School Gym
Here, students at a gym class on February 10, 2021 in Provo, Utah. A substitute teacher has been arrested for paying students to bully their classmate in P.E. class, detectives announced on Monday. George Frey / Stringer/Getty Images North America

According to detectives, the substitute teacher was retaliating against the middle schooler.

"Smith thought the student had told the vice principal that she left work early the day before, which happens to be the suspect's birthday," Roldan said.

The child told her mom about the alleged attack, which was then reported to the school district.

A spokesperson for the Caddo Parish School District told Newsweek, "The district immediately removed [Smith] from her duties and the principal of the school reported the incident to law enforcement. Throughout the investigation, the district and school have fully cooperated with law enforcement."

On Monday, Smith was charged with five counts of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles and malfeasance in office. Detectives are also looking into arresting the three students who committed the alleged battery.

Bullying and violence are rampant across U.S. schools. About 22 percent of students ages 12-18 reported being bullied at school in 2019, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

In a 2019 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 percent of high school students said they experienced at least one physical fight on school property over the past 12 months. More than 7 percent said they had been threatened or injured with a weapon at school, including a gun, knife or club.

Almost one in 10 high school students said they missed at least one day of school in the past 30 days because they feared being unsafe at school or on the way between school and home.

Smith's arrest follows multiple high-profile cases of teacher misconduct this year. Last week, a former principal at a California elementary school was arrested for shoving a special needs student to the ground. In April, another teacher at a Christian school for children with learning disabilities in Florida was arrested for inappropriate sexual conduct with two students. And in February, a New York gym teacher was arrested for slamming a 14-year-old student into a wall.

Correction 09/14/2022, 3:00 p.m. ET: This article was corrected to reflect that Aadrina Smith had offered to pay students to attack their classmate.