Substitute teacher accused of hitting, choking students arrested - FOX 32 News Chicago

Substitute teacher accused of hitting, choking students arrested

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A substitute teacher in Bloomington is under arrest after several students claimed she hit them last week. Now, prosecutors are trying to figure out if what the kids are saying merits misdemeanor assault charges.

Bloomington police say 59-year-old Laura Avery was substitute teaching for a fifth grade class at Oak Grove Elementary School last Thursday. Several students say she arrived 20 minutes late for class and things quickly got weird.

"She said, 'I don't give a crap what his name is,' and he said, 'I do,'" 10-year-old Elijah Greenough recalled. "She was yelling at us and swearing at us. She just started saying, 'Read, read. I don't give an f--- just read.' Then she calmed down and we started this project."

A couple of other students who did not want to be identified say they when they were sent to the hall, things went from bad to worse.

"She grabbed my hair and choked me," said a 10-year-old girl from the class. Another girl who fought back told FOX 9, "I kicked her. I like, grabbed her hands, and she just pulled harder."

According to Bloomington Public Schools, Avery has worked for the district since 2003. The Minnesota Department of Education website shows she's had a teaching license since 1986.

No one FOX 9 News spoke with knew of any previous problems with Avery, who came to the police station for an interview Tuesday. She was arrested shortly after.

"They have done their part," said Sean Thibodeaux, of police. "It's Oak Grove that has not done their part."

Thibodeaux and a growing group of parents involved say they are upset with how the school handled the incident. Police were called to the school before lunch time, but were told they were no longer needed while en route. .

"Last time I checked, the school district is not law enforcement," said Thibodeaux.

A spokesman for the district says the school followed protocol and did their due diligence by interviewing students and the substitute teacher separately. They were also in close phone contact with their school liaison officer.

Still, parents who filed police reports Thursday night say Avery should not have left school grounds without talking to police.

"I think she should have been arrested that day," says Thibodeaux.

Bloomington police interviewed other teachers at the schools and three victims. So far, they say all of the stories are consistent.

"I think it all happened the way these kids are saying," said Cmdr. Kevin Herman.

Officials say each child suffered minor, non-visible injuries that could rise to the level of misdemeanor assault charges.

Parents received a call from the school during the day, and more details from a letter sent home with their kids.

FOX 9 News tried to contact Avery, but she did not return repeated phone calls.

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