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Posted on Feb 5, 2015

Prosecutor’s Office: No criminal charges for substitute teacher

No criminal charges will be filed against a substitute teacher accused of using inappropriate disciplinary measures in a classroom Dec. 12 at Monument Elementary School, the Grant County Prosecutor’s Office reported on Wednesday.

Substitute teacher Ken Lacy was accused by a student’s mother of directing a group of children to drag her daughter to the front of a classroom. The mother told Quincy police other students assaulted her sixth-grade daughter as she was being brought to the front of the room.

Lacy, in his statement to police, denied  those claims, saying that while he asked four boys to bring the girl to the front of the classroom, he never told them to assault the girl.

While Lacy’s decisions that day “may not have been the wisest” of classroom management techniques, his actions were not criminal, said Alan White, chief criminal deputy for the Grant County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Quincy Police Department and Quincy School District were informed of the decision Wednesday, White said.

With a thorough investigation completed by police and the prosecutor finding no basis for criminal action, the case is completed for the school district, said John Boyd, QSD superintendent. The substitute teacher has resigned and the child is back in school, Boyd added.

“At this point, we feel like things are in a good place,” he said.

In the police department’s report to the prosecutor’s office, some 24 young witnesses, along with the girl’s parents, were interviewed by a detective about the Dec. 12 incident. The report shows statements from the girl’s classmates vary. Some reported the girl was misbehaving in the classroom and was laughing and hitting other children with books during the incident. Others reported Lacy was trying to “embarrass” the girl.

Because witnesses gave many different accounts, the prosecutor’s office would not have been able to prove a law was violated beyond a reasonable doubt, White said.

In his statement to police, Lacy said the girl was talking while he was teaching. He asked the girl several times to come to the front of the classroom and stand next to him. She refused and later began fighting with another girl under their desks, Lacy stated. He then selected four boys to bring the girl to the front of the class. However, when the boys approached her, she started pushing and hitting the boys, according to Lacy’s statement.

“Although Mr. Lacy told the four boys to take (the girl) to the front of the class, he did not approve of the method,” according to the investigation.

When the girl then asked to go to the principal’s office, Lacy told her she could not and helped her finish her assignment, according to his statement.

In the girl’s statement to police, she claimed she was doing her classwork when Lacy told the students to “get her and take her to the front of the class to embarrass her,” according to the report. The girl said she defended herself by hitting the other students. Some of her classmates hit and kicked her and pulled her hair, she told police.

Boyd would not say if the students accused of hitting the girl were disciplined.

In her statement to police, the girl also claims students were throwing soccer balls at her. The students interviewed did not mention soccer balls being thrown. She also stated to police that Lacy did not tell students to hit her.

The girl told police at her initial interview that she did not have any bruising but was in pain from the incident; however, six days after the interview, the mother stated she discovered and photographed several bruises on her daughter. One month after the initial interview, the family then sent to police photos of bruises on the girl’s arms, legs and back of her neck. The photos were allegedly taken four days after the incident, according to the investigation.

When asked why the family originally said there were no bruises, the girl’s mother said she did not want to share the photos with police because she was afraid of media coverage, according to the investigation.

The investigator also wrote in the report that as he was finishing his initial interview of the girl one day after the incident, a “media outlet” was waiting to speak to her family in its living room.

 

— By Jill FitzSimmons, editor@qvpr.com

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