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Administrator accused of grabbing Special Ed student by neck

8 years 1 month 4 days ago Wednesday, June 08 2016 Jun 8, 2016 June 08, 2016 4:21 PM June 08, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ

GREENSBURG - A St. Helena Parish School administrator is in hot water tonight after she was accused of grabbing a fifth grade Special Education student by the neck. The St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office said deputies witnessed the incident in class.

It happened a couple of weeks before school let out. According to Joe Chaney, Chief of Detectives with the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office, Charlene Comstock-Galagan grabbed a child by the neck and forced him out of his desk. Deputies were in the Special Ed class after Comstock-Galagan called 911 in reference to another disruptive student according to the sheriff's office.

"If the teacher needed assistance we had deputies right there," Chaney said. "They could have assisted her instead of her using the force she used."

The St. Helena Parish School Superintendent wasn't available for an on-camera interview, but told WBRZ over the phone that the employee acted within board policies after conducting a thorough investigation. She also added she's terribly disappointed in the way this situation was handled.

"A child has to trust," Korenda Pierre said. "A child has to trust especially one like him that these people have his best interest at heart."

Pierre's fifth grade son was the child involved. She did not want to identify him for this story, but said when the incident occurred she wasn't notified. She claims her meeting with school leaders after she found out did not go well.

"They were more concerned how did you find out," Pierre said. "Who told you this?"

Tonight, she wants to see changes at the school system so this doesn't happen again.

"Just like they expect me to have a safe place for him to sleep and provide a home for him, I expect the same when he goes to school," Pierre said.

Although the school system is at odds with deputies, the sheriff's office is standing behind its decision to arrest the school administrator.

"That's not going to be tolerated," Chaney said. "We have to do what the law requires whether it's her or anyone else. We cannot tolerate these types of things happening in the school system."

Comstock-Galagan has a court date scheduled for the middle of this month. She faces a simple battery charge on a juvenile.

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