School district responds to allegations of abuse, assault - WNEM TV 5

School district responds to allegations of abuse, assault

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SEBEWAING, MI (WNEM) -

Allegations of abuse and assault by students at a Mid-Michigan school district are sending shock waves through the community.

The superintendent of the Unionville-Sebewaing Area Schools district said at least one elementary student tried to stab others with a pencil.

Last year Gov. Rick Snyder passed a set of laws that require schools to consider situation specific factors and punishments before suspending a student.

"When she turned around a student jabbed her with a pencil," Superintendent George Rierson said.

Allegations of physical and verbal abuse from students toward their teachers were brought up at this week's school board meeting. The claims range from insults and vulgarities to assault - all at the elementary school.

"When a student might strike out at them, we have to pull them out of the classroom for a short amount of time as possible until they can demonstrate for us that they're willing to go back into that environment," Rierson said.

Rierson said the district is taking these claims seriously.

Under Snyder's law, school districts must focus on other forms of punishment beside suspension or expulsion.

"So we want to keep them in the learning environment to the extent possible, with also making sure that the other students are safe and that our staff is safe," Rierson said.

TV5 reached out to the schools' educators to comment on the allegations, but they were not available. TV5 also reached out to the teachers' union, but have not heard back.

Rierson said the district is still working through the challenges, but said he is confident things will work out in the long run.

"I think the outcome is certainly worth the changes, but there is a transition as we get used to different ways to deal with disruptive behaviors," he said.

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