A staff member at Opequon Elementary School, in Martinsburg, has been charged with assault and battery of a disabled child, according to a statement issued Friday by Berkeley County Superintendent of Schools Ronald Stephens.
The incident, which occurred Dec. 5 between a staff member and a student, was reported to administrators by another staff member, according to a statement released to the school community.
The name of the staff member charged was not immediately available.
A report was filed with the state Department of Health and Human Resources and the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office. The staff member was removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave while the incident is under investigation, principal Krista Ematrudo said in the statement.
“I have been informed that the staff member under investigation has been charged with assault and battery of a disabled child which is the direct result of the mandated report. It is important for you to know that the parents of all students impacted were notified of the incident by telephone. While I cannot share additional details as this is both a legal and personnel matter, please know that I will continue to put the safety of our students as a top priority,” Ematrudo said in the statement.
Stephens said he could not elaborate on the details of the incident or the investigation.
“It is important to me that our community understands that in some situations involving a specific school, we provide information to that school staff and families when we are able to do so,” he said. “I recognize that often our community feels we should provide more detail. Please recognize that as a school district, we cannot share the same types of details that a law enforcement agency or organization may be able to share.”
Ematrudo said she wants her staff to come to her with concerns.
“I encourage you to reach out to me directly with your concerns,” she said. “We have an environment that every child’s safety and well-being is the responsibility of every staff member. It is a common practice that if you see something, you say something and that all allegations are taken seriously.”
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