The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 6, 2014

No criminal charges for accused teacher

JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s Office will not to file criminal charges against an Ashtabula Area City School teacher accused of threatening a student.

Insufficient evidence exists to file and/or prosecute any criminal charges against the Erie Intermediate School teacher in the incident that allegedly took place on April 10 between the  teacher and a sixth-grade student, Prosecutor Nicholas A. Iarocci said in a press release Monday.

The statement came after the Prosecutor’s Office reviewed the Ashtabula Police Department’s incident report.

The student’s mother filed the report, stating the teacher yelled in her 12-year-old son’s face to the point their noses were touching and her saliva sprayed on him. The teacher also threatened to throw him out a window, according to the report.

The mother has said her son has a  rare disease that causes autism.

After the April 10 incident, the mother hired Cleveland attorney Daniel M. Margolis and withdrew her son from the school.

Margolis said Monday the boy has been traumatized from the incident.

“I’m not at all surprised by the prosecutor’s decision,” he said. “We asked for an independent prosecutor.”

The County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to review the police report and potentially prosecute the matter as a result of a conflict involving the city solicitor and his office.

“It was a clear conflict of interest,” Margolis said. “Turning it over to an independent prosecutor would have been the right thing to do.”

Margolis also disagrees with Iarocci’s decision.

“No matter how they say it, a teacher telling a student ‘you’re going out the window’ — that’s a crime,” he said. “But we’re not surprised at his decision.”

Ashtabula Area City Schools Superintendent Patrick Colucci also investigated the incident and, on April 14, said the student was not threatened.

On Monday, Colucci said the prosecutor’s findings are consistent with the school district’s internal investigation.

“There were no findings and this report reaffirms our decision,” he said. “We appreciate the time spent by the Ashtabula County Prosecutor's Office on this matter.”

After interviewing other teachers and staff members, Colucci has said he discovered the teacher has done an excellent job with the student’s behavior plan.

As for the day in question, Colucci said the student eventually complied with the teacher’s directive and later returned to the classroom where he spent rest of the day.

Colucci reviewed security cameras in the school hallway and saw the student and the teacher calmly walking to the classroom across the hall. Later, they walked back again.

The student has been enrolled in six school district’s in six years, school officials have said.

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