Mother Attacks Pittsburgh Teacher With a Brick Over a School Phone Ban: Police

A Pittsburgh teacher was allegedly attacked with a brick for confiscating an elementary student's cell phone; she reportedly suffered serious facial injuries. (Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

A Pittsburgh mom seriously injured an elementary school teacher with a brick for confiscating her daughter's cellphone in class, according to authorities, which raises questions about cellphone policies in schools.

The mother, Daishonta Williams, has now been charged with making terroristic threats, stalking the teacher, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment after she allegedly followed the teacher and threw a brick at her face.

The teacher, Janice Watkins, who taught pre-K through eighth grade at Pittsburgh King, had taken the girl's cellphone in accordance with the district's no-cellphone policy. The fourth-grade student then bit the teacher and her mother was told to come to the school. In a meeting with the teacher, the child told her mom Watkins had choked her.

The mother allegedly told Watkins that she would "get it later," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

When Watkins went to a clinic to treat the bite, Williams and her boyfriend allegedly followed her in a car, and then authorities say she threw a brick at the teacher through an open car window when they were stopped at an intersection. KDKA reported that the mother and her boyfriend then left the scene.

Watkins reportedly suffered facial injuries and lost a tooth after the attack.

The district told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that its students are prohibited from using their cellphones in the classroom.

With cellphones in schools, school officials are trying to figure out how to keep students off their phones and focused in class. Most schools have policies in place when students can access their phones during the school day, while others have strict no-cellphone policies.

Many schools are trying to encourage students to get off their phones during free time. One school in California, Corona del Mar Middle School, created cellphone-free zones in its lunch area to get students socializing.

Parents often drop hundreds of dollars to give their children cellphones so they can be reached with a quick call in case of an emergency. New York City lifted its ban on cellphones in classrooms in 2015 to respect parent's concerns that they should be able to reach their children when needed.

"Parents should be able to call or text their kids," New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said in a 2015 statement. "We are giving educators the tools and the flexibility to make this change responsibly."

Several states have laws that allow searching a student's phone. Most states require a search warrant but a Florida statute gives school officials the right to confiscate and search a student's phone if they believe the students are engaging in suspicious or illegal activity in school.