Student’s attorney says Lankford had violent past 

Anita Miller

An out-of-state temporary protective order was released Thursday by the attorney of a Lehman High School student assaulted by a substitute teacher last week.

The attack on the 16-year-old female student was captured on cell phone video. Along with the protective order, attorney Paul Batrice also released the Hays County Sheriff’s Office arrest report of 32-year-old Tiffany Lankford.

Lankford was fired and arrested last Friday, the same day the alleged assault occurred in a Spanish class. The victim, whose name has not been released, was treated and released from a hospital and is suffering, Batrice said, from traumatic brain injury and acute post-traumatic anxiety. She is also having constant headache and has limited visions, Batrice’s law firm reported.

In the arrest report, School Resource Officer Brent Bartsch, who is also a deputy with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, described what is shown in the video and said that the victim confirmed what had occurred. “The victim stated that she felt pain on her cheek and head, and described the pain as a 10 on a scale from 1 to 10,” Bartsch wrote, “She also stated she could not see out of her right eye.”

The temporary restraining order was issued out of Baltimore City in Maryland in April of 2014 concerning an incident in March 2014 and was sought by a “cohabitant” of Langford’s who claimed to be the victim of an assault at her hands. “Police are called for a domestic disturbance at the above residence,” the complaint reads. “Respondent failed to leave the residence and in fact made threats on petitioner encouraging her to call the police and being hostile, breaking an interior door and exterior knob. Also verbally threatening petitioner with bodily harm. Respondent is Tiffani Lankford, ex-girlfriend of petitioner in this matter.”

The Hays CISD said Lankford had passed both FBI and DPS background checks as all the district’s teachers and substitutes must do. She was charged with the second-degree felony offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — the charge reflecting that she had used her foot as a “deadly weapon” when she was recorded stomping on the student’s head after punching her several times and dragging her out of her desk onto the classroom floor. 

Lankford was booked into Hays County Jail and released the next day on a personal recognizance bond. A resident of San Marcos, she had no prior criminal history in Hays County.

Through Batrice’s office, the family of the Lehman student who was assaulted said the similarities between that case and the one in Maryland “show a pattern of behavior that is deeply troubling. This person should not have been in charge of our children.” The statement also said that, “The behavior of the teacher before, during and after the assault seen on video, makes it clear she is easily triggered and loses control.”

The family went on to say that “as parents and members of the Hays County school community, we are committed to making sure that whatever failures occurred that allowed someone with such a clear history of violence to be entrusted with our childrens’ safety, will never happen again.”

Immediately following the incident, the Hays CISD said that in addition to cooperating fully with the HCSO investigation, the district had reported it to the Texas Education Agency.

Lankford had only been substituting with the district since September and it was unclear if she and the student had been in the same classroom together before.

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