SALT LAKE CITY — A 46-year-old recess supervisor with the Granite School District was charged with a misdemeanor count of child abuse Friday after allegedly slapping a student in November.

A female student at Bacchus Elementary, 5925 W. 5975 South, reported that she and her friends were approached by the man, identified as Earl Clayton Rich, who was an on-duty guard during recess at the school for two hours each day.

The man told them "no pushing" and "no slapping," and then proceeded to slap one girl across the face, according to the charges filed in 3rd District Court. The girl later told police that the force of the slap "knocked her into her friend" and that it "left a mark."

Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said Rich has been placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of both an internal district investigation and a criminal investigation by police.

"We don't tolerate that type of behavior in the Granite District from any of our employees, whether hourly or full-time," Horsley said, adding that in situations like this, employees are typically terminated.

Rich is charged with child abuse, a class A misdemeanor. According to a check of state records, he has no prior criminal history. Horsley said Rich had cleared a background check, which is required of all employees prior to being hired.

Wendy Leonard

Twitter: wendyleonards