Three children and two adults were taken to the hospital after a teacher's aide who works with special needs children at Van Nuys Elementary School allegedly began throwing things and acting erratically Monday morning.
Parents and children said the incident happened just after drop-off time.
"She hit one kid named Jonathan. He is 12 years old. She punched him in the stomach," said Hartley Ray, a student at the school.
Ray said the female aide was being aggressive toward another instructor, trying to hit her with a chair, and that the students were left cowering in a classroom with the door locked and the lights turned off.
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Parent Blanca Cardenas said she saw a little girl bleeding from the head, apparently injured when the teacher was throwing chairs and other items.
It is not immediately clear what led to the assaults, and the woman was treated by paramedics. The five people taken to a local hospital were transported in good condition, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The Los Angeles Police Department said it received a call about a woman having a psychiatric episode. The LAPD and Los Angeles Schools Police responded to the incident.
Los Angeles Unified School District officials said parents received an automated phone call from the school’s principal early in the day, notifying them of the situation.
A second statement was issued later in the afternoon.
“I am calling to inform you of an incident involving an employee that took place on our campus on today. Due to a safety concern we had to contact school police, Los Angeles Fire Department, and the paramedics. Those involved were treated for non-life threatening injuries and the employee will not be returning to our school. During any emergency, the safety of your children is our primary concern. All procedures were implemented according to district policy,” the pre-recorded call said.
“I would like to thank our parents, staff and students who were patient with the authorities and school administrations. We also thank staff who responded quickly and professionally to ensure the safety of your children.”
It is not immediately clear what criminal charges the unidentified aide may face. School officials said the employee will not be returning to the school.
Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.