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Temple ISD employee placed on leave after abuse allegation by student

Temple ISD offered a brief statement after allegations of physical abuse were brought forward by a concerned parent.

TEMPLE, Texas — A Temple ISD employee has been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into claims that he physically grabbed and shook a 9-year-old student in a classroom at Jefferson Elementary School.

The student's step-mother, Vanessa Ritchie, claims the encounter left the child with bruising and marks on his arm and shoulder.

"He doesn't need to be a teacher anymore," she said.

In the student's own words, he told 6 News that he asked to use the restroom, but that the para-educator in the classroom refused his request. He said the school employee then told him to urinate himself so that he had a reason to send him to the principal's office. The student said he sat back down, but dropped his pencil. When he reached down to pick it up, the boy said the employee slapped him on the shoulder, grabbed him put his hands on him and started jerking him around.

"Why is he doing this to me? Why is he putting his hands on me," Christian Guana told 6 News when asked what was going through his mind when this happened.

Ritchie said she's lost trust in the district and that's why she is coming forward because it could happen to anyone.

"What if there's another teacher like that at another school? You know, you think it's going to be handled better, you wish it would be handled better and it doesn't and if it's not my kid it's yours," she said.

In a statement released to 6 News, a Temple ISD spokesperson wrote, “On Tuesday afternoon, Temple PD notified the district of an offense report that had been filed involving a staff member. The employee was placed on leave pending the police investigation and the district will continue to cooperate fully throughout the process.” 

Temple Police said they are gathering information and released the following statement:

"On April 20, 2021 at 4:40 p.m. officers responded to a walk-in complaint at the Temple Police Department lobby. The complainant stated she wanted to press charges on a teacher that allegedly assaulted her stepson. This case is active and under investigation."

Ritchie said her stepson has not returned to school and she isn't sure when he will, especially this year.

"It's suppose to be a safe space and anybody that knows my stepson knows on spring break, summer break, winter break, it's always, when can we go back to school?" Ritchie said.

As for Guana, the fear of going back to what he experienced Tuesday is too much.

"I haven't been wanting to go to school anymore because I am scared," he said.

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