Lexington Elementary Student Arrested Accused of Student Abuse

Monroe, La.-- - UPDATE: [3/29/2017 8:00 p.m.]

A local elementary school teacher accused of hitting a special needs student is out on bail, after being arrested and booked into OCC. 

She's one of multiple suspected, and unreported student abuse cases now surfacing from the Monroe City School system. 

39-year-old Conmernita Ross was arrested Wednesday and charged with cruelty to the infirm. 

Search warrants of the Monroe City School District Office said she was accused of hitting a student at Lexington Elementary School with a "smart board wand". 

The documents claim this incident was not reported to police and instead was handled internally.  

It alleges Superintendent Brent Vidrine was going to allow the teacher to resign April 1. 

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Monday Ouachita Parish Deputies searched the Monroe City School Board District office.

Search warrants suggest administrators haven't been reporting all of the allegations of student abuse coming through their office to law enforcement.

We reported to you one suspected case Wednesday night out of Neville High School. 

Now search warrants suggest a second case at Lexington Elementary School  may have happened back in February. 

They said the investigation suggested a special needs student was struck with a "smart board wand" by their teacher. According to the warrant, the wand is weighted on one end and is shaped like a Mickey Mouse hand.

Investigators believe the district handled the Lexington incident internally, but never reported it to police.

Attorney Bob Noel said mandatory reporting laws make this lack of action illegal. 

"It imposes criminal liabilities upon them if they fail to report some sort of child abuse," Noel said. "They're misdemeanors, but they could still be potentially charged if that were the case."

Board President Rodney McFarland tells us he wasn't aware of the Neville or Lexington School incidents until the arrest warrants were served.

He said personnel matters are reserved for the district's superintendent, Brent Vidrine, by law. 

"How can they say we trying to brush things under the rug when we did not know?" McFarland said. "We do not deal with personnel matters."

We reached out to Superintendent Vidrine. He hasn't returned our calls yet. 

The Lexington Elementary incident hits especially close to home for board member Jennifer Haneline, whose children attend the school.

She adds the board is cooperating with the sheriff's office's investigation.

"We need to make sure that all of our kids in all of our schools are protected and are in a safe and healthy environment. So in order to do that we want to stay out of the Sheriff's Office's way, let them do what they've got to do and determine if any wrong doing has occurred," Haneline said.

The search warrant states one employee told an investigator the teacher at Lexington was fired at the end of the internal investigation, but another said that Vidrine was allowing her to resign by April 1. 

"We depend on our law enforcement to make sure that people who are causing harm to anybody are stopped and brought to justice and we are going to allow them to do that job as well," Haneline added.
 
She said what happens next, depends on the result of the sheriff's office's investigation, which is still ongoing. 
 

 


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