Police investigating teacher's possible assault of 11-year-old at McMonagle Elementary

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MT. MORRIS TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (11/5/2019) - An elementary school teacher is on paid administrative leave, following accusations she assaulted an 11-year-old student.

The Mt. Morris Township police chief said it happened last Thursday at McMonagle Elementary in the Westwood Heights School District.

"It was yanking, pulling. At some point, the fifth grader fell to the ground or was thrown to the ground. We're not sure," Mt. Morris Township Police Chief Terence Green said.

He said that's the way a mother and father describe how their 11-year-old was treated by a teacher last Thursday.

"They complained the child has some bruises, but we requested they bring the child in so we can view those ourselves," Green said.

The student's parents also told police that the altercation happened in the hallway outside of a classroom, explaining other students may have witnessed it.

As investigators work to interview everyone, Green said they're hearing conflicting accounts.

"Right now, preliminarily we're getting information that the student became unruly, refused to follow some direct orders that were given," he said.

In a statement, Superintendent Peter Toal said administrators are investigating an incident they say happened on Friday, not Thursday.

"The staff member is on paid administrative leave, pending the conclusion of the investigation," he said.

Green said the teacher denied the assault. But he explained that even if the teacher just put her hands on the girl, that's not OK. And, if it was more severe than that, she'll likely face assault charges.

"I'm not sure what the school's policies and procedures are on handling unruly kids, but if I was a parent and -- I would be concerned, very concerned if it was my child," Green said.

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