Greenville School District administrative offices on Main St. in Greenville
Greenville School District administrative offices on Main St. in Greenville Credit: Kate Royals/Mississippi Today

The Mississippi Department of Education is seeking to revoke or suspend the educator license of Linda Winters Johnson, a former teacher who was recorded dragging a special needs student by her hair across the basketball court at Greenville High School.

The department’s complaint shows that the Greenville Public School reported on Oct. 7 that Linda Winters Johnson broke the law by “engaging in unethical conduct relating to an educator/student relationship.”

Efforts to reach Johnson on Friday were unsuccessful. Her Facebook page was removed shortly after the video became public on Facebook last week.

The department’s complaint states the “unprofessional conduct” occurred on or around Sept. 21. It included “but was not necessarily limited to, physically grabbing, hitting in the head and dragging of a special needs student during P.E. class at Greenville High School.”

A licensure hearing for Winters Johnson is scheduled for Nov. 4 before the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development. She will face possible suspension or revocation of her license.

Greenville Superintendent Leeson Taylor was placed on paid administrative leave earlier this week pending an investigation into how the district handled the incident.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.