By MAX FILBY
A Riverdale kindergarten teacher has been charged in Findlay Municipal Court in connection with an incident involving one of her students last month.
Barb Williams, a teacher who was caught on camera shoving her student against a wall and picking him up by his face, was charged with child endangerment, a first-degree misdemeanor, on Friday, according to the court.
Williams’ attorney, Jay Feldstein in Toledo, said he and his client are aware the charge has been filed but she had not formally been served with it yet.
“We will respond at a time and place where it is appropriate, which is in the courtroom,” Feldstein said.
Riverdale Superintendent Eric Hoffman declined to comment on the charge, saying that the district was still watching the situation.
The Ohio Department of Education refers to an act of child endangerment as an “unemployable offense.”
Ohio districts are forbidden from employing people who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to child endangerment, according to Ohio Revised Code.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s office finished its investigation a few weeks ago before forwarding findings to the city prosecutor’s office, said Sheriff Michael Heldman. Alan Hackenberg, an assistant city law director, told WTOL-TV the office had completed its review of the law enforcement report on the matter and decided to file the charge.
Anthony and Autumn Nelson told WTOL-TV it was their son, 6-year-old Ian Nelson, in the video.
Hoffman said he could not confirm that.
“I can’t answer that because of student confidentiality,” Hoffman said, referring to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Williams was suspended for the remainder of the school year in mid-May as the district continued looking into the incident, Hoffman said last month.
Hoffman said school officials noticed the incident on the district’s security camera footage on May 7 and then started taking action the next day.
The superintendent said he met with the parents of the child seen in the video on May 13, and provided them with the video and documents about the teacher’s suspension.
At that time, Hoffman said the district was unsure whether it will pursue further disciplinary measures against the teacher.
“We’re always trying to make sure something like this doesn’t happen,” Hoffman said. “We’re just trying to move forward with this now.”