Parkway teacher on leave for allegedly striking student during class

CREVE COEUR, MO (KPLR)- The Parkway School District is investigating an allegation that a middle school teacher struck a student during class Thursday.

“I was hit in the upper right shoulder,” said Andrew O’Mara, 7th grade student at Parkway Northeast Middle School. “I was very surprised, because I would never expect a teacher to hit a student or strike a student.”

His mother, Gina O’Mara, removed her son from school when she was notified.

“I’m really concerned that a teacher would do this,” said Andrew’s mother. “Parkway is a wonderful school district, but he wasn’t even doing anything.”

Andrew says he was writing on his arm because he forgot his planner. He says that’s when his teacher struck him once from behind. He reported the incident to a counselor, and was sent to a school nurse to be examined.

Gina O’Mara took her son to see a doctor Thursday. She showed us a report from the visit indicating Andrew had a “bruise on the right upper back.”

The school sent a letter to parents that reads in part, “On Thursday Parkway Northeast Middle School Administrators learned that a student reported a teacher slapped or hit him on the shoulder during class. As standard procedure, the teacher was removed from the classroom until a thorough investigation can be completed to determine next steps. We take all matters involving the safety of our students very seriously.”

The student’s mother says she and her children moved hundreds of miles away from their previous home to escape physical abuse.

“It took years of therapy and you know reassuring them that they were safe…that this wasn`t something they would have to worry about again,” said Gina O’Mara.

The district was unable to comment beyond the statement sent to parents, because the investigation is not yet completed.