Md. Teacher Accused of Choking First Graders in Court

Charged with assault

Monday, Oct 17, 2011  |  Updated 12:01 PM EDT
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Nine of <a title=Susan Burke's first-graders say they were choked, hit and scratched last month. The mother of another child says the problems date back to last year when she first told the school her daughter's teacher was trouble." />

Nine of Susan Burke's first-graders say they were choked, hit and scratched last month. The mother of another child says the problems date back to last year when she first told the school her daughter's teacher was trouble.

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A trial is set to begin Monday for a Montgomery County teacher, accused of punching and choking several of her first grade students. 

Susan Burke, 36, was arrested in February, after nine of her first grade students at Greencastle Elementary School claimed they were abused.  According to investigators, Burke allegedly choked, kicked, punched and scratched children in her class.

Montgomery County police learned of one incident on Jan. 7, when a Greencastle Elementary School student complained of being physically assaulted on several occasions.

Police interviewed all of the students in Burke's class, and their investigation revealed eight more victims, all ages 6 or 7, police said. In addition to being choked, some students also reported being kicked, punched, scratched or squeezed on the arms, police said. Additional students reported witnessing the attacks, police said.

Burke was also charged in an alleged March 2010 assault of a student as a result of this investigation, police said.  The incidents allegedly took place on school property and during school hours.

Montgomery County Public Schools learned of the allegations on Jan. 4, according to schools spokesman Dana Tofig.

Burke had been with the Montgomery County school system for ten years.  She was placed on administrative leave after the first complaint.  She faces charges of assault and child abuse.
 

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