"The safety of students attending Baugo Community Schools is our highest priority and greatest responsibility," Baugo Community Schools said in their statement.
Trigger Warning: This story describes physical abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
A former "Teacher of the year" has reportedly been arrested after he was caught slapping a student during school hours. 61-year-old Michael Hosinski, of Osceola, Indiana, was taken into custody by the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office on a level 6 felony for battery, the department said in a statement.
Hosinski allegedly hit the Jimtown High School student during a "verbal altercation" on February 25, 2022, according to a press release from the Baugo Community Schools, published by WNDU.
Meanwhile, the Baugo Community School Board announced that Hosinski, who worked in the district for 40 years, would be allowed to retire early, according to the South Bend Tribune.
Apparently, the incident allegedly began after Hosinski confronted the victim about the hoodie sweatshirt they had worn to class before he "inexplicably" made physical contact with them, the district said.
BREAKING: Former Jimtown HS teacher Michael Hosinski, 61, has been arrested in relation to the February 25th battery of a student at Baugo Community Schools, according to Elkhart County Sherrif’s Office.— Alex Almanza (@AlexAlmanzaWNDU) March 3, 2022
Hosinski is in custody on preliminary charge of Battery, a level 6 felony. pic.twitter.com/2J2ZkulxxK
Security footage of the incident obtained by WTHR shows Hosinski grabbing the backpack of a student and pushing them against the wall moments before pointing a finger at them and slapping them in the face. Earlier in the clip, Hosinski appears to chase the student down the hallway while a student and school staff member look on.
Once he caught up to the student, Hosinski appears to grab them by the jacket with both hands as he holds them against the wall and pointing a finger at them which then turned into a slap, before grabbing their arm and attempting to lead them down the hallway. The student then falls to the ground as an adult appears in front of them.
After the student collapsed, Hosinski appears to retreat back toward the room he exited at the start of the clip.
The open-handed slap "caused the student's head to strike the wall" and "the student suffered visible injuries" as a result, according to Baugo Community Schools' statement. The victim was "immediately" treated by medical staff.
Former Jimtown High School teacher Michael Hosinski has been arrested on a preliminary battery charge for slapping a student. @ABC57News has aired the video, though it is disturbing.— Richard Bodee (@RichardBodeeTV) March 4, 2022
Hosinski has since bonded out. pic.twitter.com/2f1VjoVXKZ
"The safety of students attending Baugo Community Schools is our highest priority and greatest responsibility," Baugo Community Schools said in their statement. "When anyone, including a teacher, undermines that priority and responsibility, swift action must and will be taken to safeguard Jimtown students," the district continued, adding that, "anything less cannot be tolerated."
Baugo Community Schools said school administrators "promptly contacted" both the Indiana Department of Child Services and the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office about the incident. The Indiana Department of Education's teacher licensing officials were informed of the incident as well.
"Baugo Community Schools has and will continue to fully cooperate with all investigations, as well as offering supportive services to the student and the student's family," the district said before announcing that Hosinski "is no longer employed by Baugo Community Schools." He is also not permitted on school grounds.
"All Jimmies must be able to learn in a safe environment," the district concluded.
Before the video evidence was released, several members of the community had shown their support for Hosinski. Students had organized a walkout, and a Change.org petition asking to save Hosinski's tenure and retirement had garnered 1,345 supporters prior to the school board meeting.
Meanwhile, Tanner Clark, a Jimtown High School alumnus, said that the video of his former teacher did not alter his opinion of the man. Clark called Hosinski "a great mentor," "a good person," and "a very Christian man."
"That is the video of a man who lost his cool and made a mistake," Clark shared. "But mistakes can be rectified over time."
Cover Image Source: YouTube | WTHR (Indiana teacher slaps student in hallway)