Riverdale teacher discipline investigation could take months - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Riverdale teacher discipline investigation could take months

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It's a story that caught the attention of the nation.  Kindergarten teacher Barb Williams was seen grabbing 6-year-old Ian Nelson as he left the bathroom on a surveillance camera.  Williams proceeds to lift Ian off the floor and hold him against the wall.  The confrontation happened on May 7.

District officials handed down a ten day suspension for Williams, without pay.  They say it's standard procedure for the type of incident, but some parents say it wasn't harsh enough.

"It concerns me because my son is starting kindergarten next year," says William Perin* who attended Monday night's school board meeting.  "I want to make sure my son and my youngest son, when it's time to go to school, will be looked after properly."

"We do not...as a board of education, a community, or a district...condone the actions that we saw in that video," says school board president, John Livingston.  "But at the same time we do honor the Constitution and that there is due process of law."

Other community members also support the investigation, but defend Williams' actions.  They say the rush to judgement is not fair.

"Children should be taught discipline before they come to the schools, the school's job is to teach," says Mark Dunbar.  "I tend to back the teacher a little bit.  I think to jump to something real quick to satisfy the public would be a mistake."

The Ohio Department of Education, and the Hancock County Sheriff's and Children's Protective Services offices are also investigating.  School district leaders took no action Monday and say it could be weeks or even months before parents get more answers.

"We would like to get things settled as quickly as we can, but it's kind of out of our hands now," says Livingston.

The Nelson family is no longer talking publicly about the issue.  Their attorney says they're waiting on the investigation results before they'll decide if they're pursuing any legal action.

*The original story listed the name as William Purvis.  That was incorrect, his last name is Perin.  We apologize for the error.
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