(BLOOMINGTON) - No criminal charges will be filed against a Bloomington elementary school principal who was suspended after an allegation he injured a 10-year-old boy with autism while trying to restrain him. (Herald Times)
Monroe County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bob Miller said witness accounts backed up what Binford Elementary School Principal Joe Childers said happened at the end of the school day Feb. 23.
Miller said the boy, a student in a self-contained special needs classroom, was acting out and that his teacher called Childers for help getting the boy safely to his bus. The boy then ran down the hallway and Childers chased after him, fearing he would go out the door onto Second Street.
He grabbed the boy by the hood on his sweatshirt or coat. "Obviously that stopped the boy in his tracks, and at that point the child went to the floor," Miller said. The boy had red marks on his neck after the incident.
Miller said it was clear Childers did not intend to hurt the student. In order to charge a person with a battery, there must be intent to cause harm.
"We have to look at it from the totality of the circumstances he was confronted with, and it's obvious from everything we reviewed his only intent was to catch the child and restrain him so that he could not harm himself or somebody else," Miller said.
Miller said it's up to school corporation officials to determine if Childers used too much force or violated any school rules in subduing the student.
Childers, principal at Binford since 2008, was suspended with pay pending the outcome of the police investigation and prosecutor's review. His status was unclear Tuesday; MCCSC officials did not return phone calls seeking information about if or when he will return to the principal's office.
The boy's parents, in a statement released last week, said he will no longer be attending Binford.
Childers' lawyer, Carl Lamb, said Tuesday afternoon he had not heard the investigation was complete and his client cleared of wrongdoing.
According to Bloomington Police Department records, the mother of an 8-year-old Binford student reported Childers battered her son, causing a bruise and scratches, during an incident at the school May 17, 2010.
Detectives investigated, and filed no charges after witnesses said excessive force was not used to restrain that child, who had been suspended from school.
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