Arrest Warrant Issued For Van Buren Teacher Accused Of Hitting 2 Students

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CRAWFORD COUNTY (KFSM) – An arrest warrant has been issued for the Van Buren teacher accused of hitting two students in the last three months.

Denan Cagle, a science teacher at Northridge Middle School, has a warrant out for her arrest on suspicion of misdemeanor third-degree battery, according to court documents filed in Crawford County on Wednesday.

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 to charge Cagle in connection with the incident. A police incident report was also filed in a separate incident 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)

Cagle was temporarily suspended in the November incident. Van Buren School District Supt. Kerry Schneider sent a letter to Cagle on Feb. 2 concerning January’s alleged incident. In the letter, the superintendent notifies the teacher he is recommending to the School Board that she be fired. School administrators have not said whether Cagle was actually fired out of the incident.

The letter notes 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 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.


  • bilz

    This is the biggest bunch of bull I have ever heard of. My kids had this teacher. They said she was the one that broke up fights. And, if she ever “jokingly” hit them, it was because they had harassed her into it….and still it was jokingly. Sounds like a case of punk kid that needed his butt whipped and his momma is gonna press charges for money and a teacher will lose her job.

    • FedUp

      They are a group of punks that don’t want to behave and do what she says so his worthless parents are going to raise a stink because their precious little innocent baby doesn’t know how to show respect for authority. It’s time they started using a paddle again and without having to obtain permission form mommy and daddy! Hold some of these parents more responsible for what their kids do and they might actually start teaching them how to behave.

      • Sean

        Whoa there fed up, Judge Jim Spears and Attorney Mike Hamby would take your kids from you if that’s your parenting style. You’re not even allowed to make a kid do 20 push-ups or it’s called “child abuse” now, well according to those two.

        In a few years we won’t even be allowed to use “the look” or wag a finger for being naughty.

    • Nathaniel Stout

      Mrs cable was one of my most favorite teachers she dedicated lots of effort ad time to keep me from failing other classes besides her and to be honest I was probably one of her biggest problem children and she never put her hands on me but she did let me know who was the boss i wouldn’t have made it through jr high without her this is outrageous

  • Marie

    Someone’s looking for a lawsuit. Arresting this teacher seems a bit extreme. My god how many Nuns and teachers in my day would be in prison today. At least we learned to sit down, be quiet, and Learn.

  • Taylor

    I had her as a teacher and this to me seems like a kid who needed attention or was failing the class and needed his mother to think the teacher was terrible. She was extremely sweet and a great teacher and a few kids in my class tested her patience and she did nothing but send them to the office or give them some sentences. If she was going to hit anyone it would of been them! Anyone checked into seeing if the two Seperate boys were friends or failing the class???

    • FedUp

      Taylor Channel 5 will never tell the side of the hundreds of parents and students that know what a good teacher she is. All they want to do is sensationalize it and interview the worthless parents of this kid

      • Shain Bergan

        We would love to talk to parents who support Cagle, since we are unable to get a hold of her for her side of the story. Every time we ask, though, parents decline to speak on record. Please let me know if you know of any parents who would like to speak out in favor of Cagle. Email

      • Sherri Zanders

        You are absolutely right that they won’t! Right after I saw the email address they left yesterday to “hear from us too”, I emailed them. I told them that I would be happy to go on record in support of Mrs. Cagle. They have yet to reply. Shame on you 5news!

  • FedUp

    she’s probably like most teachers, fed up with these disrespectful foul mouthed kids that the worthless parents are raising. It’s ridiculous how they act. She should have knocked his head off !

  • judys

    hard to say until all the evidence is in. there is no question that this individual could be a great teacher & role model for students. the problem is, like so many areas in life, all it takes is one (or maybe 2 as in this case) moments for a teacher to make a mistake or poor choice in a difficult or “challenging” moment. that’s all it takes, then it’s a done deal as in this case. it is a very different world for students & teachers today than way back when when corporal punishment, ect was the norm. i feel for both teacher & student. my guess is that she’s a good teacher/person, but made the wrong choice in the heat of the moment. all of us face that challenge from time to time in life. and we deal with the consequences of our choices every day. i’m no different than anyone else in that respect…

    • bilz

      I think you should also take into consideration that the teacher to student population is ridiculous…I would like to see how many mothers can handle 20 or more of these types of students for seven hours a day; that’s one teacher to 20 students. think about it; how many times does that adorable do good child act at home; times twenty?…Corporal punishment should be brought back. It would keep the money mongering parents and the whiny punk kids from causing good teachers to look for less pay in a smaller school district. For all you punk kids that think Ms. Cagle is out of line; you should be removed from any basketball, tennis, football, ballet, or golf teams that you are enrolled in; because you have a chance at having a red mark left on you….

    • Tam

      If you decide to electronically sign the online petition, there is an option, on the side, that will hide your name (identity), from everyone else, but will still allow you to electronically sign…Thanks!

      • Tam

        My whole family had, Mrs. Cagle, as a teacher, and she was so wonderful and supportive. I was a very sick child, and had to miss school quite a bit, and she never judged me, but always made me feel special, and helped me with getting my make-up work finished and gave me an ample amount of time, to turn it in! Throwing pencils is very dangerous, and I know of someone close to me, that is partially blind, in one eye, due to a thrown pencil! Thank you all, for signing the petition, and I pray to see many more!

  • Faith

    The story above states that the other students in class reported it and that the parents were notified by phone before their child returned home. It also states it has happened on at least two occasions. So clearly the parents did not plan a lawsuit nor have they filed one in either case. In what world is it okay or just kidding around to slap a child in the face?! I hate to break it to you but a child being disruptive or misbehaving is no excuse. There were many other courses of action she could and should have taken. Parents need to stop trotting out the excuse that these days spanking your own child will earn you an assault charge. It simply doesn’t work that way. If you were being disruptive at work and your supervisor slapped you would you just shrug it off? What if they were just joking around? The same people whining on these posts would have a fit were they in those kids shoes.

      • Faith

        The first incident took place in 2014. She slapped a child in the face after threatening to slap him if he continued to misbehave. There is a link above in the news story that explains what happened in both cases and the actions taken once it was reported. Apparently these are just two of several incidents. She reportedly has admitted to striking many students with her hand or objects over the course of her career to get their attention in class, while joking around, or to discipline them. The paper work made it clear that after the 2014 incident and subsequent warning that if she repeated those behaviors with students or colleagues she would be fired. I know the Jan 2015 arm slap doesn’t seem like a big deal to some but she had already been warned and has already admitted on record that she hit him hard enough that she asked him if he needed to see the school nurse and begged everyone in class not to say anything because she would be fired.

    • bilz

      These disruptive cuties were not slapped in the face. They admitted to goofing around hitting each other in the head with a pencil. In what world does any parent find this acceptable behavior by a child in a classroom environment that is meant for learning from the teacher? The reporting parent should be ashamed of himself. REALLY!!!!!!! I have to wonder if Faith is really Ms. Covey? And do you realize how much embarrassment you are causing your child….

  • PeaceLily

    The kid has probably been more well behaved since this incident and the parents are probably grateful. Greedy and probably also looking for a payday, but secretly grateful.

  • Darin

    Too bad those kids weren’t in my Science class back in High School. Any problems in the classroom was taken care outside in the hallway with a wooden paddle by the teacher. Didn’t have too many unruly kids back then in that class. We’ve become a sissy society.

    • Royce

      I agree, Darin, my parents made it clear that my teachers were to be obeyed and they had permission to wear me out if necessary, and then I’d get it again when I got home. Needless to say, I behaved pretty well and am now glad they loved me enough to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  • atc8824

    If I cant spank my children to make them mind without DHS breathing down my neck then no teacher on earth has the right to hit my child.Maybe if teachers would stop calling DHS every time little Jonny gets his bottom busted then maybe we parents would understand more.Do unto others as they do unto you.Funny how teachers do not like being treated like regular people.Oh by the way this wasn’t the same teacher that bruised my son that teacher was a man.

  • Dee

    Wow.. I don’t understand how anyone can support this teachers’s behavior. How do we tell children to keep their hands off of other people, if we are the adult in control… losing control . A teacher is the adult in this situation. It doesn’t matter if the child “deserved” it. It is her job and responsibility to be mature and handle any problem in an adult manner. Slapping anyone is wrong and legally this is considered assault .

    • Bea

      And it’s the parents job to make sure their children respect authority figures when they are in school. If the children are acting up then it’s the parents fault? Is that what you are saying DEE? The kids were being disruptive and causing an entire class to lose valuable learning time.

  • VBSD Employee

    As a public school teacher who works for this district, I would like to point out that just because you sign these documents that were mentioned in the link …does not mean you accept blame. It means you received the reprimand or document.

    I have worked in this district long enough to know there is probably much more to this story.

    I do not support hitting any student for any reason. There is always a better choice. That is NEVER an option. However, as an employee of this district who has to worked in an environment with a troubling lack of administrative support … I not jumping to condemn this educator.

      • VBSD Employee

        **editing last sentence again**
        .. as an employee of this district who has worked in an environment with a troubling lack of administrative support … I am not jumping to condemn this educator. I would also like to add the following comment. The VBSD has been good to me for the majority of my career. I am just trying to point out the fact that we all should not be so quick to condemn. In this job…all it takes is one accusation and your career could be over in a heartbeat.

        **Obviously, I have not been through the reading/writing workshops!**

  • Bea

    It’s time for schools to go back to corporal punishment and
    paddling a misbehaving child, the child will grow up to respect authority. If
    that is not possible, then, any misbehaving child should be sent to the
    principal’s office and sent home. And, should the misbehaving child continue to
    disrupt classes, that child should then be taken by the parent to see a
    therapist on the parent’s dime. And a letter from the therapist should be
    provided to return to school. If not then the student should be homeschooled or
    schooled in another district.

  • Peggy Yancey

    You people have got to be sick to file a warrant for this teacher’s arrest and might lose her job over this little punk that needed more than a slap on the shoulder!!! He was bullying this girl by flipping her on the head with a pencil. Can’t you tell by looking at this boy he is an over grown baby!! I think the parents of the girl should be filing charges on this boy and his family for bullying their daughter!!! Well yes it left a red mark you could just barley hit someone as pale as he is and it will leave a red mark!! She didn’t hurt this kid and this is what is wrong with the schools to this day, the teachers can’t discipline the students and then they bully until they kill the student. Grow up KID and stop causing trouble and does his parents not teach him to not hit girls? I can only imagine what he will be like when he does grow up. Come on get real and let this go!!!!

    • momof3

      Peggy, your complaining that the girls parents should file charges because the boy was hitting her, but if you read the article, it says that both the boy and the girl were hitting each other. As for that comment, the parents of the child that was slapped are doing exactly what you are recommending…bringing charges against the person that slapped their child!

  • jay

    ok so somebody accuses you of something for some reason or another and they can just put a warrant out for your arrest somebody needs a change this law this is bs…

  • Candace

    Loved Mrs. Cagle! She made Earth Science so much fun. She always had a smile and loved what she did. Never had a temper. I wish her the best of luck!

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