A St. Albans kindergarten teacher who resigned in May after being accused by parents of using excessive force on a student will not face criminal charges in the incident, according to the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said in an email Friday that after a full review of police reports, her office found that the teacher, whose name is not being used by the Morning Sentinel since she has not been charged, had an “affirmative defense” for her actions.

The teacher at St. Albans Consolidated School was accused of verbally and physically abusing children in her kindergarten classroom, including an incident in which she allegedly scratched a 6-year-old boy across the stomach after the boy was fighting with another student.

The boy’s parents reported the incident to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, which handed the case over to the district attorney’s office.

When reached at her home Friday, the teacher referred a request for comment to the Maine Education Association, the state teachers’ union. Giovanna Bechard, communications director for the MEA, said Friday that she couldn’t provide a statement.

State statute allows for parents, guardians or other people responsible for children to use a “reasonable degree of force” against a child if necessary to prevent or punish misconduct, according to Maloney, who said she does not deal often with complaints from parents against teachers.


Corey Collins, the father of the boy who was allegedly scratched, said Friday that he hadn’t heard from authorities that no charges would be filed, and he still thinks they should be.

“If I did that to my kid, I know (the Department of Health and Human Services) would be called and I would probably lose my kid,” Collins said. “I don’t get how it’s right for another person, a teacher, to do that.”

Maloney said that while her office had determined no crime took place, she does not have jurisdiction over whether school or district policy was broken.

The scratch left on Collins’ son was several inches long and he said the incident, along with what the parents said was the teacher’s day-to-day treatment of students, has had a negative effect on his son.

Parents reported in April that the teacher had been suspended while the school district, Newport-based Regional School Unit 19, conducted an investigation. The superintendent at the time, Ray Freve, said he could not confirm the teacher’s suspension and said the matter was a personnel issue.

After the teacher’s resignation in May, Freve said it wasn’t necessary for the district to complete its investigation, and it made no finding of wrongdoing by the teacher.


RSU 19 Superintendent Mike Hammer said Friday that he was not familiar with the situation and could not comment.

“We hope parents have open and honest relationships with their teachers and with their principals,” he said. “From my experience in the last month and a half, our principals are really strong. Parents should be proactive and have a conversation, if need be, about what’s going on in their child’s classroom. We’re all here for the kids and we’re here to listen.”

Both Collins and another parent who started an online petition calling for the teacher’s resignation said Friday they felt safer not having the teacher in the classroom.

“I didn’t enter into this with the goal of having her thrown in jail or having her charged with a crime,” parent Rob Poindexter said. “It was to keep the kids in the classroom safe. There’s rising to the level of a crime and there’s acting inappropriately with 6-year-olds. They aren’t necessarily the same thing.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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