EDUCATION

The Williamson County district attorney’s office has teamed up with Florence police to investigate a claim that substitute teachers forced children at Florence Middle School to crawl on their hands and knees, according to Florence police Chief Adam Marsh.

Marsh told the Herald on Saturday that the parents of several children came forward and complained about the disciplinary methods used by two substitutes in a physical education class.

The children injured their hands while doing bear crawls on an asphalt track during a physical education class, Marsh said.

Nancy Gonzalez, the mother of one of the children who filed a complaint, told the Austin American-Statesman that two substitute teachers forced a class to run and do bear crawls as punishment.

“We have made the decision that the substitute teachers will not be allowed on the campus or on any campus in an employment capacity during our investigation and while any criminal investigation is still pending,” said Paul Michalewicz the superintendent of schools. “We want our parents and community to be assured that our staff works hard every day to protect our students and the educational environment. Our students’ safety and well-being is our top priority.”

Names of the two teachers being investigated will not be released unless charges are filed, Marsh said.

“We have to gather all the pieces,” Marsh said Monday. “There were quite a few children involved.”

Though a grand jury will likely decide what the teachers are charged with if they are charged at all, Marsh said an injury to a child charge is an option.

The incident took place Thursday, and the complaint was filed with police Thursday about 6 p.m. Investigations began Friday morning.

Child Protective Services is also involved in the investigation because 16 children were reported to be involved, according to the Statesman.

Some parents opted to keep their children home from school after the incident, Marsh said. That has made it difficult to complete the investigation.

“As soon as we have all the pieces of the puzzle put together, we’ll move from there,” Marsh said.

254-501-7552 | sullivan@kdhnews.com

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