A teacher in Marionville allegedly pulled a 4-year-old boy off the ground by his arm with so much force it left bruises.
Kimberly “Kim” Daniels, 42, of Clever, was arrested last week and charged with abuse of a child and hindering prosecution of a felony. She was booked into the Lawrence County Jail and released on an $8,000 bond.
If convicted, Daniels faces up to seven years in prison on the abuse charge and up to four years on the hindering prosecution. They are both felony charges.
Deputies with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to the June 6 incident on the playground of the Marionville school district, which has 800 students. They were summoned to the Monett Child Advocate Center for forensic interviews of the boy and three other children.
Court records used to charge Daniels said the boy opted not to discuss the incident, but three children who were also on the playground said Daniels approached the children to split them into kickball teams.
More on the incident
The boy, in just his eighth day of school, was on the playground with his older sister for the first time and started crying because he wanted to stay with her and not go to the outfield as directed by Daniels.
The three children also told authorities that Daniels grabbed the boy by his upper arm. They reported his feet were dragging and bouncing off the ground. They said another teacher came over to separate Daniels and the boy.
According to court records, Daniels initially told a deputy that she approached the boy because he was hitting other children and that when he refused to stop, she employed her “handle with care training” and insisted she was gentle.
Daniels’ second statement, more than five weeks later, noted up to 30 children were playing kickball and boys were cutting in line, so she went over to send them to the back of the line.
She told a deputy that the boy was making groaning noises, ignoring her and hanging onto a girl, whom she later found out was his sister. Worried the girl would fall, Daniels said she picked up the boy — who she alleged was on the ground in the fetal position — and carried him away when he refused to put his feet on the ground and walk.
According to court records, a deputy interviewed several teachers who were lined up in front of the fence about 10 feet away but said they either didn’t see what happened or could not remember.
The sheriff’s office learned the incident was recorded and asked to review the footage. The video showed Daniels at the fence, but when she came around the fence, the video cuts out for a minute. The next image shown is of the boy on the ground. At that point, two teachers have approached and Daniels is walking away.
The boy reportedly urinated on himself that day and has been in therapy because he is afraid to speak to teachers, court records said.
The teacher was placed on paid administrative leave last week.
An online teacher certification database by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education showed Daniels has worked for the district since at least 2006 as a teacher in grades 3-5.