A first-grade teacher at an Ohio elementary school is facing jail time following her arrest for allegedly injuring a 7-year-old student. She was charged with first-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and could spend up to six months behind bars if convicted. It is not clear how she will plea at this time, nor has the school that employs her announced how it will address the charges in the long term.
The incident at the center of the case allegedly occurred when the 46-year-old teacher attempted to grab the student by the face when she saw he was not paying attention in class and was talking to another child. She reportedly scratched his neck and jaw as she did so. The woman was criminally charged after the student's grandmother contacted the sheriff's office.
Immediately following the reported incident, the teacher was briefly placed on suspension and ordered to work from home for two days. She then returned to regular duty at the school, though the school district's superintendent announced that she would be returned to suspension until the criminal investigation against her is complete.
According to a representative with the Ohio Department of Education, the woman could potentially continue teaching even if she is convicted. While certain offenses usually lead the State Board of Education to suspend or a revoke a teacher's licenses, he explained that "assault is not an absolute bar offense." He explained that the Board considers each case independently based on "mitigating and aggravating factors" therein. In some cases, teachers only face letters of admonishment or other similar forms of discipline.
Teachers charged with assault or other similar crimes often face intense scrutiny from the media and their community. This makes it important for Ohio educators accused of harming a student or any other similar offense to secure the best possible legal representation; a high-quality criminal defense attorney can help such individuals clear their names and protect their rights.
Source: ChillicotheGazette.com, "Adena teacher charged with assaulting student," David Berman, March 21, 2013