PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A West Bay teacher accused of bullying and abusing students in her 4th-grade class, is gone.

Bay District Schools fired Theresa Testa on Thursday.

But parents are still livid about the situation.

West Bay Elementary School students and parents said Testa bullied and abused their students all school year.

“The teacher yelled behind me and before I could turn around she grabbed my hoodie and slung me to my chair,” West Bay Elementary Student Rylin Naquin said.

Naquin said Testa choked her.

In a Facebook post, Bay District Schools said they are “terribly sorry” about how Naquin was treated.

Bay District Schools issued this statement Friday.

In it, West Bay Elementary Principal Deniece Moss said the school is investigating the incident and offering counseling support to Naquin.

Moss said this is not indicative of the faculty and staff at West Bay.

But Naquin said she was not the only student testa abused.

“For other kids, she’s pulled their hair and bashed their heads together. Grabbed their arms and slung them around to a table,” Naquin said.

After her dismissal, Testa messaged parents that unruly and disruptive students should be removed from scholars in a learning environment.

“We send our kids to school to learn, and to be safe. Not to be bullied, belittled, or abused. Especially not by their teachers,” West Bay Elementary School Parent Holly Fessenden said.

Parents said their students cried after school all year long after being bullied by Testa.

“Since the beginning of the year basically we’ve just dealt with Ms. Testa speaking down to him and making him cry multiple times throughout the week, and him coming home crying,” another parent said.

Another parent said the Florida Department of Children and Families was called to his home four times this school year.

He claims there were allegations he was abusing and starving his daughter and believes Testa was behind those allegations.

He said his daughter used to be a happy carefree kid, but that’s changed this school year.

“About a couple of months into the beginning of this year she just, she turned into a whole new kid. Came home crying every day about what the teacher said or done to her,” West Bay Elementary School Parent Don Mattingly said.

Initially, Mattingly said he believed school officials who said his daughter was unruly in class.
But that trust has now been broken.

“I had so much trust in them before, it’s just so hard to break that level of trust I had in them. You know and now it’s just shattered,” Mattingly said.

Fessenden said she is considering filing criminal charges against Testa.

Bay District Schools full statement:

“Typically, we do not comment on specifics in situations like this but, in this case, the parent/guardian has signed a release giving us permission to respond to media questions. When this situation was reported to us we immediately began an investigation and contacted the District’s Human Resources Department for guidance. The teacher was immediately terminated and the situation was reported to the appropriate authorities for further investigation. We always want our classrooms to be safe places for teaching and learning and we take any concerns of this nature very seriously.

We have been working closely with this student, and her mother, since the incident occurred. Her mother was immediately notified and she came up to the school to meet with us. With the mom’s permission, we connected the student with members of our Triad Team so they could offer counseling and other support. While we abhor the idea that any teacher would grab a student by the hood on a jacket, we are very grateful that the student told us she was not hurt and that she was comfortable returning to class shortly after the incident occurred. Of course, we will continue to do all we can to support the student and her family going forward as other authorities complete their investigations.

We want to be very clear that this situation is NOT indicative of the faculty and staff at West Bay Elementary. Our community knows that we love, treasure and do all we can to protect our scholars every single day.”