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Former Timberview High teacher sues district, alleges student created unsafe workplace

The lawsuit against Mansfield ISD seeks more than $1 million in damages.

Former Timberview High teacher
ATF officials gather in front of Mansfield Timberview High School in Arlington following a shooting there Oct. 6, 2021.(Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)

By Zaeem Shaikh

A former Timberview High School teacher has sued Mansfield ISD, alleging administrators failed to control the behavior of a student who was later involved in a 2021 shooting at the school that left two students and two teachers injured.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Tarrant County district court, seeks damages of more than $1 million.

A spokesperson for Mansfield ISD said Friday that the district is not in a position to discuss pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, Aretha Hall began working at Timberview in 2015. She had a student, referred to in the lawsuit only as “ZS,” who “was consistently disrupting her class” to the degree that she had to alert school administrators.


The lawsuit alleges the student’s conduct escalated and that he became more aggressive toward Hall — to the point that he was making “terroristic threats” — when she tried to correct his behavior.

The lawsuit says administrators did not address the issue despite Hall reporting it.

“Instead, MISD allowed the situation to continue to escalate creating an unsafe environment for Aretha Hall and the other students, teachers and faculty present,” the lawsuit says.

Because of the “untenably hostile and dangerous” situation, Hall suffered from anxiety and other mental health issues, the lawsuit says, and she eventually took medical leave as a result.

Weeks after Hall began her leave, the 2021 shooting at Timberview — which the lawsuit says involved the disruptive student — took place. Hall went into “an emotional and mental breakdown tailspin” after learning of the shooting, the lawsuit says.


The district later fired her, which the lawsuit alleges was in retaliation for reporting the student’s behavior. Hall also was not paid for the full amount of vacation time she had accrued, according to the lawsuit.

Hall, who was named the campus’s teacher of the year in 2018, remains unable to go to a school or other educational facility, the lawsuit says. She is continuing to receive treatment for her mental and emotional health.

In July, a Tarrant County jury found Timothy Simpkins guilty of attempted capital murder in the shooting. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

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