Boston Globe

Saturday, January 20, 2001

School says parent attacked teacher

By Sandy Coleman and Beth Daley, Globe Staff, Globe Correspondent
Boston Globe

As youngsters in class screamed and cried, the mother of a first-grader assaulted her son's teacher at a Jamaica Plain school yesterday, sending her to the hospital with a gash above her eye and a fractured cheek, school officials charged.

''I don't feel so hot - I'm black and blue,'' said Carla Reveliotty, reached at her home last night after she was released from Faulkner Hospital.

The mother, Angela Brinson of Dorchester, irate at the way the teacher restrained her son the day before, showed up as Reveliotty was taking lunch money and attendance, the teacher said.

Reveliotty said Brinson shoved her. But in an interview last night, Brinson said that the teacher fell as she backed away from her.

Yesterday's incident immediately raised concern among teachers and union officials, who said that the mother had caused trouble before at the school.

Tracey Lynch, spokeswoman for the Boston public schools, said the boy's mother and grandmother went to the Margaret Fuller Elementary school and accused the teacher of assaulting the child.

Reveliotty said she had grabbed the boy's hands Thursday but only to stop him from kicking her. Lynch said school officials believe that Reveliotty acted appropriately to subdue the


''She held the boy's hands and talked to him in order to calm him down,'' Lynch said.

But Brinson said last night that her son had been abused repeatedly by Reveliotty. The teacher even kicked the boy, Brinson said, and she has been meeting with school officials about it for several weeks.

Yesterday, Reveliotty said Brinson was let into the school at the beginning of the day to bring her child into the classroom. But, as children watched in horror, Brinson became irate and shoved her, the teacher said.

''I fell down and hit a desk,'' Reveliotty said. After falling, ''blood was everywhere,'' she said. Brinson's mother began straightening up the desks and cleaning up the blood before the principal and police arrived, the teacher said. Brinson then left the classroom with her child.

''The mother apparently pushed the teacher, who lost her balance and fell and, as she was falling, hit her head and face on a classroom desk,'' said Lynch, giving the school system's version of events.

Reveliotty, 53, a 30-year Boston schools veteran, was taken by ambulance to the hospital after the 8:40 a.m. incident.

Brinson gave a different account of yesterday's confrontation.

The mother said Reveliotty became angry and started yelling at her. In the ensuing incident, ''she was backing up at the same time and tripped over a chair,'' Brinson said.

The Boston Police Department issued a summons for Brinson to appear in West Roxbury District Court to determine if charges should be filed against her.

Also, the School Department has prohibited Brinson from coming into the school building unless she makes prior arrangements and is accompanied by a school security guard or another adult.

Reveliotty said that on Thursday, Brinson's boy was making noises, sticking his tongue out at her, and mimicking much of what she said. She told the boy to sit in a chair in the front of the classroom.

As she walked by, ''he tried to kick me,'' she said.

''I said I wouldn't allow him to kick me and held his hands,'' she said.

Reveliotty said Brinson's son has had problems in school both this year and last year. Last week, the child was banned from the school's afterschool program, the teacher said.

Brinson countered that her son is not a disciplinary problem. The mother said she believes Reveliotty ''has a problem as an adult and doesn't know how to deal with


Meanwhile, Boston Teachers Union president Ed Doherty called on school officials yesterday to do more to protect teachers.

''The School Department has got to be more aggressive in administering policies where parents who are a problem are kept out of the schools and can't go into a teacher's classroom,'' he said.

Lynch said there was no lapse of security at the school in yesterday's incident.

''The building was secure,'' she said. ''It wasn't a matter of someone getting into the building who should not have been there.''

She added: ''The same rules to which our students are held, adults need to be held to as well.''

Globe correspondent Rachel Osterman contributed to this report.

This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 1/20/2001.

© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.