A former Brusly Elementary teacher, Melissa Blank, 37 of Brusly, was arrested on charges of false imprisonment, cruelty to juveniles and simple battery on Feb. 21 after an incident in the classroom earlier in the month.
An adult witness, whose role is unclear in police reports, was in Blank’s math class during the time of the incident and reported it to authorities. The witness told authorities a student was not paying attention to a math activity and became upset when they were told to move their “clip/animal” on the behavioral chart.
The child swatted all of the clips from the behavior chart, knocking them to the ground. Blank then swung the child around and grabbed the student covering their neck and jaw then pushed the student against closet doors, according to an affidavit.
Blank yelled, “You are not going to act like this, you are not going to touch my things!” while pinching the student on the shoulder, the affidavit said. The witness also noted the student had “extremely red skin from Mrs. Blanks hands.”
When the witness asked to intervene and remove the student, Blank said no, the witness told police. Blank used three chairs to block the door when the child tried to leave, according to the police report.
Blank is still employed by the West Baton Rouge Parish School District at Lukeville Upper Elementary School. Superintendent Wes Watts described Blank as a really good teacher with a previously spotless record.
Watts declined to comment further on the individual personnel matter, as he is bound legally.
“We wouldn’t put a teacher in the classroom that didn’t treat students properly, love and pour their heart and soul into teaching,” Watts said. “The trust of the community in teachers and the school system is critical to success.”