Police in Baltimore County in Maryland are investigating reports of abuse of fourth graders by a female substitute teacher on Tuesday including what media reports are characterizing as “lap dances.”
“A parent did file a police report alleging child abuse,” TV station WBFF quoted Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach as saying. “But so far, no criminal charges have been filed.”
She added an investigation has been opened into the reports from parents of students at Halethorpe Elementary School on Feb. 11.
The Baltimore Sun said Sandra Zook filed a report with police, saying the teacher “held my son’s hands above his head, she was sitting on a chair, pulled him toward her, crossed her legs over his legs and kissed him on the cheek twice.”
The substitute then, according to Zook’s 9-year-old son, “proceeded to sit on him and bounce up and down on his lap.”
Another parent, of a 10-year-old girl, told a similar story. Laura Grover said the teacher asked several students to “pull out their chair from their desk so she could observe their work.” She then bounced “on their laps,” Grover said.
Grover added that when her daughter failed to move her chair, the substitute “dug her nails into my daughter’s armpits” to move her.
Moreover, Zook and Grover said the teacher asked to play a “clapping game” with the students, and asked them to name body parts, using “breasts” and “nipple” as an example.
Several children asked to leave to use the bathroom and see the guidance counselor but were refused, Zook said, and the teacher even grabbed her son’s neck to keep him from leaving.
Her son and another student eventually left the class and alerted officials. The guidance counselor returned with the assistant principal before the substitute was escorted out of the classroom.
School officials alerted parents to the incident by sending out an automated phone call and told them to call the principal for more information.
“It was reported to our administration that a substitute teacher allegedly exhibited unprofessional behavior during the class,” the call said.
Oland wouldn’t say how long the substitute has worked for the school system nor confirm if any of the teacher’s actions were observed by school administration.
Lisa Carroll, whose son is in the class, said the teacher exhibited “just bizarre behavior.”
According to Oland, the teacher in question had been removed from the pool of available substitute teachers.