A Wisconsin school administrator accused of manhandling an 11-year-old student during a disciplinary procedure before ripping out three of the girl’s braids won’t be returning to the school pending an investigation.
The Madison Metropolitan School District placed acting principal Rob Mueller-Owens of Whitehorse Middle School on administrative leave this week in light of the shocking incident, which was caught on the school’s surveillance cameras. Now the Madison Police Department is getting involved.
The student’s mother, Mikiea Price, has since filed an incident report with the authorities after learning of the Feb. 13 incident from her daughter, who she said called her crying and saying a teacher jumped her.
“Just the whole experience is just traumatic and devastating and just confusing,” Price told local station WISC-TV. “I’m just disgusted at this whole incident. You know I send my kid to school to learn, and that’s a place where mothers send their kids to be comfortable in. I just feel violated in so many ways that … this even happened to her.”
The outraged mother said she arrived at the school to find her daughter teary-eyed and holding three braids she said had been ripped from her head.
According to Madison 365, which first reported the incident, the chaos reportedly unfolded after the girl said a teacher became upset when she and another classmate sprayed too much perfume during class. The situation escalated, and that’s when Mueller-Owens was called in to handle it. The girl’s family claims the “positive behavior support coach” then singled the student out and called her into the hall.
Pastor Marcus Allen, an acting spokesman for Price and her family, told Yahoo News that Mueller Owens had fallen on top of the girl while trying to discipline her. Allen, who’s seen the school video, said the administrator shoved the girl out of the classroom and into a row of lockers before losing his balance and tumbling onto her.
“He stayed on top of her for 10 or 15 seconds,” Allen said, adding, “I don’t know how the girl’s braids were pulled out but she has two bald spots on her head.”
Price, who’s worked as a substitute teacher in the Madison school district, said school officials didn’t alert her to the incident nor did they provide medical aid to her daughter. She added that her 11-year-old is too traumatized to even return to school.
Madison police said they’re working to get to the bottom of what happened.
“It’s still being investigated and we are trying to sort out what happened,” MPD spokesman Joel DeSpain told The Capital Times. “We know there is a parent involved who is making a lot of claims as to what transpired, and we of course are checking out those claims and any other facts that we can glean so we can come to a conclusion.”
The Madison Metropolitan School District also released a statement, which reads in part, “As a District, we take any situation of this nature very seriously. All of our students need to be safe and supported in school, and we have a thorough investigation process and protocol that we follow. While we cannot talk about the details of a specific student or personnel situation, it is our responsibility to consider all of the facts of the situation and determine the right next steps.”
Officials confirmed Mueller-Owen, who was once honored at the White House for his work on restorative discipline, has been placed on leave as the district considers its next steps.