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Police: Claremont Middle School Teacher Won’t Be Charged

Claremont — A middle school teacher who was placed on paid administrative leave in December after she allegedly “smacked” a student in the face with a cleaning cloth will not face criminal charges, Claremont Police Chief Alex Scott said in a news release yesterday.

Tamara Lever, an English teacher, has not returned to school since the Dec. 17 incident, SAU 6 Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin said yesterday.

Whether she would return to the classroom — or when — was something McGoodwin said he could not discuss.

“To answer that question I would have to disclose the outcome (of the school district’s investigation), which I cannot do,” McGoodwin said.

McGoodwin said the incident took place in the cafeteria. He became involved immediately and the school district conducted an internal investigation in addition to the police investigation.

“My protocol is to inform the teacher of the allegation and what I have learned,” McGoodwin said. “She has the right to meet with me and discuss what happened. My investigation is done and I made a decision and took action about 10 days ago.”

According to the news release from Scott, police were called to the school around 3:15 that day for a report of a “possible assault” by a teacher against a 12-year-old male student.

The student, whose name was not released, was said to be “fooling around with and tossing a cleaning cloth and in response to this conduct the teacher took the cloth and smacked it against the student’s face and stated ‘How do you like it?’ ” the release stated.

While the alleged conduct violated school policy and demonstrated poor judgment it did not warrant a criminal prosecution, police said. The investigation by Claremont police was done in conjunction with the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office.

Lever, who could not be reached for comment, has taught at the school for eight years, McGoodwin said.

He also said the School Board has not been informed of the specifics of the incident in case Lever decides to appeal his decision.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.