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Custodian at Madison school resigns after allegedly punching parent

Custodian at Madison school resigns...

MADISON, Wis - A Madison school district janitor has resigned after allegedly hitting a parent while on school property at Orchard Ridge Elementary.

Maria Hernandez says she doesn’t feel comfortable sending her kids to school after she says a school staff person bullied her 10-year old son Tony. Hernandez's son has ADHD and behavior issues. Behavioral specialists at the school are working with Tony, which is why Hernandez said she was shocked to hear what Tironda Jones, a school custodian said to her son on Wednesday.

"She came out and said, 'Mom, guess what your son is going to be?' And I'm excited, waiting to see what he wants to be when he grows up. She said, 'Your son is going to be a no one, that will have no success in life and (be) a really bad father,'" she said.

Hernandez went to confront Jones regarding the alleged comments. When she approached Jones, she allegedly began using profanity and punched Hernandez in the face.

"I said, 'I'm Tony's mom and you are not supposed to be talking to my son,' and she threw the first punch. I have parents trying to pull me away and staff members trying to intervene and she keeps throwing punches," Hernandez said.

The altercation happened in a hallway of the school during class dismissal at the end of the day. Students, teachers and parents were present during the time.

"What triggered this behavior from the employee, we don't really know. But clearly, what she did yesterday was unacceptable," Joe Balles said. 

According to Hernandez, this is not the first time she has had a problem with Jones. Earlier this year, Hernandez said expressed her concerns to the school's principal regarding the way Jones treated her son. She requested that Jones not be able to address her son after a separate incident.

"I would expect bully him or something like that, I don't expect staff members to be bullying my son," she said.

Balles said Jones resigned Thursday morning after expressing remorse for the incident. The school sent an email to parents to inform them of the incident. Teachers also addressed the issue with students during school on Thursday.

"We certainly can't have that kind of behavior occurring on the property. It's important for our kids to know that we are going to take the appropriate steps just like if the kids got in a fight on the playground," Balles said.

Police sources say in their  report, a video of the altercation shows Jones throwing the first punch and Hernandez trying to block herself from being hit.

Madison police are continuing to review the case. Jones was cited for misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct, she does not have any prior criminal history.


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