Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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White Co. BOE Addresses Alleged Abuse at Woodland Park
Former Woodland Park Pre-K Teacher Shelly Cole addresses the White County Board of Education regarding an alleged abuse case that occurred in November (Photo: Logan Weaver)

White Co. BOE Addresses Alleged Abuse at Woodland Park

The White County Board of Education fielded questions Thursday involving an incident of  alleged abuse at Woodland Park Elementary School.

Lisa Eller said the school system failed to notify her of a November 2018 incident, in which a Pre-K teacher allegedly shoved her fingers down the throat of her four-year-old child.

“I was told by an anonymous source these things that were alleged to have happened,” Eller said. “I was told nothing by the school. They did not contact me, I contacted them. I contacted the (White County) Sheriff’s Department because they were never contacted as well.”

According to parents who attended the meeting, the incident occurred after the boy allegedly stole a piece of pizza from the teacher. Eller stated she was not notified within 24 hours of the abuse report being filed, in accordance with district policy.

Chairman Jayson McDonald read from a prepared statement during the meeting, saying the school began an investigation into the incident immediately after it was reported.

“On (Nov. 8, 2018), school administrators spent the day interviewing students and employees concerning this matter,” McDonald said. “Following these interviews, a family member of each student was contacted. Parents were informed that the matter was under investigation and that neither school officials nor law enforcement had all the facts.”

Former Woodland Park Pre-K Teacher Shelly Cole said she was terminated on December 19th after reporting the incident to school district officials.

“I’m pretty sure in my heart that’s why they terminated me,” Cole said, “because they had no write-ups, no issues, nothing disciplinary, anything to stand on to back what they might say they terminated me for.”

McDonald said the teacher in question remains suspended during the investigation. Local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Children’s Services are investigating the incident, per McDonald’s statement.