KYLE, Texas — A substitute teacher at Lehman High School has been arrested and charged for allegedly assaulting a 15-year-old student in class.

  • Former sub teacher faces up to 20 years
  • Students video recorded assault
  • Incident will be reported to TEA

Hays Consolidated Independent School District officials say the assault happened Friday in a foreign language class. The incident was captured on video by several students. In one of the videos, a student appears to take a swing at the teacher, then the teacher takes several swings at the student, hits her, drags her to the floor, and stomps on the student’s head.

Warning: The video below may be disturbing to some.

Classmates of the victim immediately notified other adults on campus of the assault.

Campus officers removed the substitute teacher, 32-year-old Tiffani Lankford of San Marcos, from the classroom and questioned her. Hays CISD fired Lankford, and Hays County deputies took her to jail.

The victim was released to her father, who took her to a hospital for evaluation.

“Under no circumstance is that behavior tolerated at Lehman High School or in Hays CISD,” said Lehman principal Karen Zuniga. “We take the safety and security of our students seriously. We took swift action when this incident occurred and will do everything necessary to protect our students.”

The district plans to report the incident to the Texas Education Agency and cooperate with law enforcement investigators.

Lankford had worked for Hays CISD since August 30, 2019. She had worked in a classroom in the district a total of 18 times, including Friday.

“We are appalled at the actions of this former employee,” said Tim Savoy, Chief Communication Officer for Hays CISD. “There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that can justify what you see unfold on the video. It is unconscionable what this adult did to one of our students.”

Lankford is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony. The crime carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.


Paul Batrice of Batrice Law Firm released the following statement on behalf of the student’s family:

We are shocked and disgusted after seeing the abuse and excessive force used in this teacher's attempt to discipline a special needs child. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. Given this teacher’s alleged criminal history of domestic violence and the video footage that has shaken our community, we have started an investigation into this teacher and Hays CISD in the hopes of ensuring justice for this family and so that no Texas student has to ever endure such extreme behavior again.

The child is currently being treated for the severe injuries she sustained from this attack, and her family and loved ones are close by. All parents, myself included, should be deeply disturbed by the facts surrounding this abuse. When we drop our children off at school, we expect that teachers and administrators will keep them safe, not place them in an environment of violent behavior.  This is unacceptable to say the least, and we will demand justice to the fullest extent of the law to enact the change so obviously necessary.