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Granite School District investigating alleged abuse incident

Published: Tuesday, May 3 2011 11:30 p.m. MDT

TAYLORSVILLE — Police and administrators from the Granite School District are investigating an alleged abuse incident involving a fourth-grade student and a substitute teacher.

Troy Lewis said a substitute teacher in his daughter's class took his 9-year-old daughter by the shoulder and kneed her in the back in an effort to knock the wind out of her. The incident reportedly took place April 28, but only came to light Monday, when the students' regular teacher returned, according to Lewis.

The father said it was actually his daughter's classmates who reported the abuse to their teacher and administrators, and they, in turn, called him.

"She seems to be OK and stuff," he said, adding that he always hoped his kids would come to him should anything happen. "She was scared she was going to get in trouble."

He said he took the girl to the hospital, where a doctor did determine she had a bruise on her back. Lewis said he doesn't know what was happening in the classroom at the time.

"I think there was maybe a little disruption," he said, but added that his daughter has no disciplinary history at any school.

Police have done some interviews with witnesses and are planning to interview both the girl and the teacher involved. Lewis said he has been impressed with the way the incident has been handled.

"I really like Granite," he said. "I've always thought they were great. It drives me crazy that something like this could happen."

He said his daughter is currently doing well.

Ben Horsley, spokesman for Granite School District, said a concerned parent of a fellow student notified them. "Since we have only been aware of the situation since this morning, we have moved with all expediency," he said Tuesday. "However, a complete investigation is still ongoing."

Horsley said the teacher involved would not be scheduled to substitute again until the issue is resolved. The district will also have prosecutors review the case.

"We do screen every potential charge with prosecutors no matter how minor the incident is," he said. "It's just policy. We take any claim of physical contact very seriously."

"In the education environment, it's critical that the student feels safe," Horsley said. "We want to reiterate that our students should feel comfortable and our parents should feel comfortable reporting these kinds of incidents."

And even as the investigation is ongoing, Lewis said he plans to thank the students who came forward to report what happened.

"It was probably very scary," he said. "I'm going to take them chocolate milk and donuts."

Email: emorgan@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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