Teacher accused of hitting student, stealing food
ST. FRANCISVILLE - Sheriff's deputies issued an arrest warrant Thursday for a West Feliciana Parish teacher accused of kicking and slapping a student at the elementary school where she works.
Deputies said 31-year-old Chanel Lamelle faces a charge of cruelty to juveniles for the Jan. 23 incident at Bains Lower Elementary.
Deputies said on Jan. 23 two teachers reported they saw Lamelle yell at a student for not walking the way he was supposed to down the hall as the class went to lunch. The teacher said she watched Lamelle kick the student in the backside and berate him, making him get a tray and sit alone to eat.
The teacher said Lamelle continued to yell at him and made the child cry when she said maybe he needed to back to preschool to "learn how to walk down the hall." The witness said Lamelle then told the child he needed to stop crying, and she slapped him in the back of the head to make him stop.
The teachers also said Lamelle took a taco off the child's plate and ate it in front of him, saying he didn't need two tacos. One teacher said Lamelle often comes into the lunch room with an empty plate and takes food from students for herself.
Deputies said child assistance workers spoke to the child, who confirmed the teachers' accounts of what happened. He also said Lamelle would grab students by the shirt and take them into the hall with a stick, and that he didn't tell anyone what happened to him because he didn't want to get in trouble.
Investigators said they expect Lamelle to surrender to deputies before the weekend.
Don Cazayoux, an attorney who will represent Lamelle, said she is an expectant mother who has been a teacher for 10 years and "would never intentionally hurt any of her students."
She has faith in the justice system, Cazayoux said.
On Thursday night, he said he is not sure when Lamelle will meet with deputies.