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Local teacher found not guilty in assault trial

February 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

An Orangeville teacher has been found not guilty of assault by an Ontario Court judge after a trial in which the teacher had been accused of assaulting a five-year-old student in the classroom.

In April of 2017, a parent contacted Orangeville police to report that his son had complained of being assaulted by a teacher in a classroom at St. Benedict Elementary School.

After a police investigation, Jennifer Peltier, of Inglewood, was charged with assault.

Ms. Peltier plead not guilty to the charges.

During the trial, the Crown argued that Ms. Peltier had used ‘excessive force’ against the child after the child refused to follow instructions in the classroom.

The teacher testified that she did not use an unreasonable or unjustified amount of force.

Last Friday, February 9, Ontario Court Justice Richard Schwarzl found her not guilty of the charges.

The Court found that it was the behaviour of the child that caused Ms. Peltier to use force, citing the school board’s policy that permits a teacher to restrain a student as ‘last resort’ when all other attempts have failed. The judge ruled that Ms. Peltier conducted herself as expected under that policy.

The Court also ruled that Ms. Peltier’s use of force in the classroom was ‘neither punishing nor abusive.’

Contacted by the Citizen, a spokesperson for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School board said they cannot comment on personal matters, but confirmed that Ms. Peltier’s status with the Board remains the same. “Now that the criminal matter has been resolved, the Board will proceed with its own internal investigation process.”

         

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