By Geena Martinez
MIDLAND - We're learning new details behind allegations against a Midland substitute teacher. The sub is accused of inappropriately touching students. But that's not all, he's accused of hurting the kids as well.
A new policy for subs has just been put into place to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
Choking, hitting and touching female students, that's what allegedly happened inside a classroom at Sam Houston Elementary last week in Midland.
Police said 62-year-old Juan Melendez is the one who did it. Melendez is a substitute teacher for MISD.
"I was just like wow," Maritza Saenz, a Sam Houston parent, said. "Your first thought is 'was this the first time this has happened?"
According to an arrest affidavit, students made outcries that Melendez had inappropriately touched several female students.
One of the victims told investigators the substitute started rubbing her leg while she was sitting at her desk.
Melendez allegedly moved his hand to her stomach and then moved his hand between the child's legs where he continued to touch her.
"It was just so emotional because the little girl that happened to, I know her and it broke my heart. I'm still emotional about it," another Sam Houston parent, Maria Gamez, said. "Right now we're just praying for her."
The affidavit also stated he put students in a choke hold, cut their hair, hit them and called them names.
A teacher told detectives some of the kids had bruises.
Melendez initially denied the allegations but later told investigators the kids would hug him because of his accent.
The affidavit said when he was asked about touching students, he responded if he did touch anyone, it was by accident.
"You do get scared because it makes you wonder who you can trust," Saenz said. "It makes you wanna sit with your kids in class all day."
MISD sprang into action and a new substitute teaching policy started Monday at the request of Superintendent Ryder Warren.
Every classroom with a substitute teacher must be checked with a walk-through twice a day to make sure everything is alright. The walk-throughs must also be documented in writing.
Parents tell NewsWest 9 they're glad the district is making changes.
"I think that's great they should keep our kids safe because it's happening everywhere, not just here, and it's scary" Gamez said.
"I think to a certain point it might prevent something from happening," Saenz said. "It's a good thing though, I'm just glad that they care."
In an e-mail, Dr. Warren praises subs saying, "we have many wonderful educators who fill these roles" but he adds, "we have to make sure our students are safe in the classroom."