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‘I do not want this on record’: Texas substitute teacher caught encouraging student fights on video immediately fired and jailed

Natally Garcia

Natally Garcia (Mesquite Police Department, YouTube/screengrab)

A substitute teacher in Texas caught on video encouraging her students to fight in class now faces multiple criminal charges, local police say.

Natally Esperanza Garcia, a 24-year-old who had reportedly been working with the Mesquite Independent School District for just a month’s time, is the one being taught a lesson in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s recorded fighting inside her Kimbrough Middle School classroom. One 13-year-old girl’s camera was rolling as the teacher said “I do not want this on record” and threatened to confiscate phones. The teacher, the school district confirmed to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, even “outlined rules for the students to follow and even instructed a student to monitor the classroom door while the fights took place.”

“What I need you to do is stand by that door and hold it in case somebody comes in,” Garcia allegedly said, before video showed two boys and two girls separately throwing punches at each other as the substitute teacher looked on.

“Her actions are appalling and intolerable,” the district reportedly said in a statement, noting that the fired Garcia had started working for Mesquite ISD as recently March 6.

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“Yesterday afternoon, campus administrators personally contacted all parents of the students in the class by phone to inform them of the situation and the school’s swift response. As educators, our hearts are heavy knowing that an individual entrusted with the supervision and care of our students could behave in this manner, and we share the disgust that the families of students in this class must feel,” the district added. “MISD referred this matter to Mesquite Police to pursue possible criminal charges resulting from this former substitute’s reckless and irresponsible actions.”

Possible criminal charges are now real criminal charges.

According to the Mesquite Police Department, video of the incident led to four counts of endangering a child, along with Garcia’s arrest and booking.

“On Monday, April 17, 2023 the Mesquite Police Department arrested Natally Garcia, a 24-year-old female from Dallas, Texas. She is being charged with four counts of Endangering a Child,” cops said. “Investigators determined that Garcia engaged in conduct that placed four students in danger of bodily injury.”

Texas law says that it is a “state jail felony” when a person “commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”

The fighting students were 12 and 13 years old, Fox 4 reported.

Mesquite Police Department records show that Garcia was booked at 3:32 p.m. on Monday.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.