Melissa Blank is accused of grabbing a 5-year-old student by her neck during class at Brusly Elementary School on February 7.
Now, the girl's parents have given some insight into what happened. They're not ready to speak on camera just yet, but they did speak over the phone. The parents say their daughter has ADHD and they admit at times, she can get out of hand, but they say that does not justify a teacher grabbing her by the neck.
The complaint was documented because there happened to be a teacher's aide in that specific classroom at the time. Otherwise, the parents of the little girl say school officials did not inform them about what happened. Instead, they found out from the Brusly Police Department, where the complaint was filed.
The complaint documented the child swatted all of the clips off of a behavior chart. The report goes on to say, "Mrs. Blank grabbed [the child] by the neck and pushed her against the closet doors. Mrs. Blank had her other hand on upper arm, squeezing it at the same time, yelling at her, 'You aren't going to touch my things, you aren't going to act like this!'"
When the aide offered to take the child out of the classroom, the document said, "Mrs. Blank told me, 'No, she needs to learn. She can't act like this and she's not going to touch my things!'"
Blank was arrested by the Brusly Police Department and charged with cruelty to a juvenile, false imprisonment, and simple battery.
Since then, we've learned Blank was moved from Brusly Elementary School to another school in the district, Lukeville Elementary, also as a teacher. We reached out to West Baton Rouge Schools Superintendent Wes Watts, who says they've wrapped up their internal investigation, but would not release the results of that investigation or why Blank was simply moved to another school. He says it was a "personnel matter" and they could not comment.
Watts did release a statement, saying, "We would not put any teacher in a class with students that we did not have confidence in."
We have since learned the parents of the little girl say they have had previous issues with Blank and asked the school's principal to get their daughter into a different classroom, but they say that never happened.
Since then, the parents of another student say they too filed a complaint with the Brusly Elementary School principal against Blank.
Meanwhile, the Brusly police chief says they did interview the little girl and she corroborated everything the aide said in her written complaint. Blank's lawyer did not return a call for comment.
Since the incident, the little girl has been moved into a different classroom and her parents say they have seen a drastic improvement.
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