Van Buren Teacher On Paid Leave After Slapping Allegations

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VAN BUREN (KFSM) – The Van Buren teacher accused of hitting two students in the span of three months is on paid leave and will have until next month to appeal her recommended firing.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday in Crawford County for Denan Cagle, a science teacher at Northridge Middle School, on suspicion of third-degree misdemeanor battery. Van Buren police said they have not yet received the arrest warrant. Those usually take a few days to appear in the police department system, they said.

Once police receive the arrest warrant, they will contact Cagle and give her the opportunity to turn herself in, according to the Van Buren Police Department.

Supt. Kerry Schneider sent a letter to Cagle on Feb. 2 concerning an alleged incident last month, in which the teacher is accused of slapping a student on the shoulder so hard that it left a red mark and a handprint. In the letter, the superintendent notifies the teacher he is recommending to the School Board that she be fired.

The School Board has taken no action yet because Cagle has until 30 days after the letter’s date to appeal the recommendation to the board, according to the Van Buren School District. School district employees who are in that 30-day appeal period are placed on paid administrative leave, Schneider told 5NEWS on Thursday.

Schneider said the school district has no other comment because he is limited by law as to what he can say.

Van Buren police said Jan. 29 they were investigating Cagle following allegations she struck a student on his arm during class. Detectives later forwarded the case to prosecutors, who decided this week to charge Cagle in connection with the incident. A police incident report was also filed in a separate case from last November, in which a student and his classmates said Cagle slapped him in the face.

(Click here to read the incident reports and the school district documents concerning the alleged battery incidents)

School district documents state Cagle was temporarily suspended in the November incident. More recent documents from the district indicate Cagle admitted to the superintendent that she did hit the two students.

The mother of the 13-year-old boy who was allegedly hit in January told 5NEWS the teacher came up behind him Jan. 28 and slapped him on the arm hard enough to leave a red mark and a hand print. She said children in the class reported the incident to the school’s principal the next day.  The mother said she received a call from the principal the same day, notifying her of the incident.

“The principal called me and told me that our son was hit by a teacher, and so we went up there, and they said that the girl was flicking him with a pencil, and he was flicking her with a pencil, and then the teacher came up behind him, and slapped him in the shoulder and told him to quit,” Stephanie Covey told 5NEWS last month during the investigation.

Covey`s son Trevor is an eighth-grader at Northridge Middle School.

“I was like did you just hit me? I turned where she was. She said ‘Yes, it was an instinct, I didn’t mean to. Please don’t tell the office. I’m already in trouble’ because she had done it before; she did it to another student,” Trevor Covey said.

(Click here to see video and read more about the family speaking out)

The January case was referred to the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Shortly after the allegations went public, another mother told 5NEWS Cagle was being investigated by DHS for a similar incident from three months ago involving a separate student. That incident was the slap noted by the police incident report from November.

The Van Buren School District handbook on the district’s website outlines several types of discipline students may face for inappropriate behavior, none of which include physical punishment. A cached version of the handbook on a web search shows a page titled “4.3.8 — Corporal Punishment”.

The page states Van Buren officials may use physical force and “swats with a paddle” to counter “excessive” student behavior. That page does not appear in the current handbook. It is not clear when that page was taken out.

Several attempts to contact Cagle through the school district, telephone and email have been unsuccessful. A 5NEWS reporter also went to a home listed as belonging to Cagle in order to get her side of the story. The person who answered said he had never heard of her.

9 comments

  • Amazed

    The rest of the story might be very interesting to know… I bet the kid was thumping the girl in front of him on the head… How bout interviewing those parents

    • Sean

      I’m sure her side of the story about how she hit multiple kids is pretty interesting. Wish she would quit ducking the media and come out and blame the kid like any honorable child abuser would.

      Wait why bother when she’s already got the 5news commenters blaming the victim for her?

  • bob

    dang when I was in school kids had welp marks all over there behinds from the paddles wow how times as changed! teachers now days would probly be beheaded for such things did to use kids back in the day and the thing is we deserved the a** woopens which im sure was the case here the kids was acting up and got out of hand.

  • Sean

    When you were a kid you walked in the snow for two hours uphill both ways to get to school too right? Then sat in a one room trapper shack/schoolhouse and everyone shared one book and did some good learnin’?

    Well look at you now! You turned out ok and even figured out how to turn on one of them fancy puters all the kids love nowadays.

    • bob

      actually wasn’t that long ago when mericans still had a spine and punished kids which im sure if u will ever bread kids SEAN they will be luckly to live pass 18 begin they will never be punished for there mistakes.

      • bob

        A white Michal brown shot dead buy the VBPD or better know as Sean brown jr shot by the VBPD for trying to take there gun cause he’s worthless a** transsexual parents didn’t punish him as a child so he didn’t know he couldn’t try to take the cops gun away and beat the hell out of them only before taking off running with his hands up and pants down to hes knees lol.

  • bobreal

    My Question is What did the Student say or Do to cause the Teacher to THUMB HIM??
    Teachers need to send a Note at the Beginning of the Year Stating the Teachers WILL NOT PUT UP WITH ANY BS. The Teacher can either Discipline the UNRULLY STUDENT OR WE DON’T WANT THEM IN THE SCHOOL.. And the Note MUST BE SIGNED BY LEGAL GUARDIAN.. Also have WORKING CAMERAS WITH SOUND IN ALL ROOMS WHICH MUST BE WORKING ANY TIME THE SCHOOL IS OPEN AND LET ANYONE ENTERING THE SCHOOL KNOW..

  • Casey

    I’m shocked at how many people are defending this teacher. If a teacher slapped my kid I would be furious! And for you old rednecks posting about ‘merica is nothing like it used to be let me tell you, I have never been hit in my life and I graduated college with a double degree and honors. All my siblings are college graduates with good jobs. None of us have ever been in trouble with the law. Neither of my children have ever been hit and they are both honor role students who have never been in trouble at school. You can actually talk to your kids about your expectations because *gasp* they’re actual human beings!! Not animals that need to be beat into submission.

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