Rowan Co. teacher resigns after parent claims her child was "taped" to chair

A teacher at a local elementary school in Rowan County has resigned after a mother came forward claiming the teacher "taped" her 9-year-old son to his desk. 

The incident was reported to police at 9 p.m. Friday, May 13 regarding Knollwood Elementary School.

A mother, identified as Ms. Santamaria, reported to police that her 9-year-old son had been “taped” to his desk at school on Friday, and that the same thing had happened on several other days prior to May 13.  

Santamaria said that the incident had been reported to the principal at Knollwood, and that she was supposed to meet with the principal on Monday. 

Lt. Smitley, of the RCSO, notified Rowan County DSS of the incident, and a report was filed. 

Detectives began their investigation and took statements from a number of people, both adult and juvenile, who had knowledge of what happened. 

Investigators reviewed a short video segment that showed what appeared to be masking tape attached to one side of the child's desk, which then went around the child's chair, and ended up being attached to the other side of the child's desk. 

At this time, no evidence has been found to show that tape was put on the child's body at any place, but was always attached to the child's desk or chair. 

Detective Barkley met with representatives from the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office Wednesday morning and learned the following information:

NCGS 15A 301 (b1), Approval by District Attorney; school personnel. - Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no warrant for arrest, order for arrest, criminal summons, or other criminal process shall be issued by a magistrate against a school employee, as defined in G.S. 14-33(c)(6), for an offense that occurred while the school employee was in the process of discharging his or her duties of employment, without the prior written approval of the district attorney or the district attorney's designee.

Per the above NC General Statute, the Rowan COunty Sheriff's Office cannot charge a school employee for an offense committed on a student while they are at school, unless the DA’s office provides written approval. 

The facts of this case were presented to the DA’s Office Wednesday morning and at present, it was their determination that no probable cause was found for any criminal offense to charge the victim’s teacher with.

This investigation remains active, and should other facts or video be found to exist, RCSO investigators would present the additional facts to the DA’s Office. 

The RCSO did determine that the teacher involved in this incident did resign from the Rowan-Salisbury School System on Tuesday, May 17, and that the teacher has retained the services of an attorney. 

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