TPS special education teacher arrested for allegedly assaulting student

A Spring Elementary School special education teacher is facing two assault charges on claims of throwing a child across a classroom.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:07 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Spring Elementary School special education teacher is facing two assault charges following claims he threw a child across a classroom.

Marcela Graciani was at work on Tuesday when she got the call that her 9-year-old son, Jaxson, was allegedly assaulted by his teacher, Garrett Pelz. Graciani says she thought she could trust the people who watch her children but now she’s unsure.

“He told him to sit down. He ended up sitting on the desk, and the teacher grabbed him up by his shoulders and threw him across the room. And he hit his head and face on the ground,” said Graciani. “He has a little gash above his eye, it looks like a rug burn under his eye, and his teeth almost went through his whole lip,” said Graciani.

According to court documents, school staff had to remove other students from the classroom to clean up blood left on the carpet from the incident.

Graciani is concerned that Pelz works with students who have mental health issues and worries they will will have to deal with more trauma because of the incident.

Pelz was in court on Wednesday, facing charges of assault and safe school assault. He entered a not guilty plea and was released on his own recognizance. Graciani says he should never work with children again. A statement from Toledo Public Schools tells 13abc Pelz is on paid administrative leave but could not comment on specifics of the incident as the internal investigation is ongoing.

James Gant, Deputy Superintendent for Toledo Public Schools, released the following statement on the alleged assault.

“Toledo Public Schools has placed a teacher from Spring Elementary on paid administrative leave after an incident involving a student. The number one priority for the district is the safety and security of our students and staff members and any time there is a reported incident between a student and staff member, the district takes swift and appropriate action. In this case, charges have been filed against the teacher. Toledo Public Schools cannot comment further at this time as the situation is still being investigated.”

Graciani is a single mother of five children. She says she can’t home school, but doesn’t feel comfortable sending her kids back.

“How are my other kids going to react now when they go to school? They may have regular classes, but what if the next teacher decides they’re having a bad day and they don’t take the right precautions and another kid gets hurt?”

She went on to say she’s looking into her legal options and other potential schooling options for her kids.

Pelz is scheduled to be back in court on May 24.

It’s the second recent incident of a TPS employee assaulting a student in recent weeks. 13abc reported a paraprofessional was accused of slamming a student’s head on a desk and breaking his front teeth just two weeks ago.

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