Bloomington sub teacher accused of verbally, physically assaulting 5th graders

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A substitute teacher at a Bloomington elementary school has been charged after being accused of angrily grabbing students and a profanity-laced tirade last week, the Star Tribune reports.

Authorities charged Laura K. Avery, 59, of Bloomington, Thursday with malicious punishment of a child, which is a gross misdemeanor. She was also charged with witness tampering, a misdemeanor.

The alleged incident happened Dec. 13 at Oak Grove Elementary. According to a criminal complaint obtained by KARE-TV, Avery is accused of cursing at a classroom full of students when they started to act up, and then "physically punished or assaulted victims specifically."

Avery allegedly "grabbed one by the hair, grabbed another by the neck and kicked one of them on his way into the quiet room," Bloomington Police Commander Kevin Herman told KARE.

According to the Star Tribune, the school's principal sent a letter to parents, saying, "The school social worker and school psychologist spoke to our fifth-grade classrooms about school safety and the importance of a routine."

Alluding to the recent school tragedy in Connecticut, the principal added that it was "important to reassure our students that school is a safe place to learn."

Avery, who has had a teaching license since 1986, has been removed from her duties by the school district. She was reportedly substituted more than 70 times since the 2008 school year, but has no incidents on her record.

See a video report on the case from KARE-TV below.

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