Erica Jones

2 NW DC School Employees Accused of Assaulting Students

A teacher is facing an assault charge after police say she hit a student in the head at a Northwest D.C. elementary school where an after school employee is also under investigation for assaulting a student.

Lacey Thornton, 32, a fourth grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary School, was arrested Friday morning.

The victim told the school's principal Tuesday that Thorton grabbed her by her hair and hit her twice with an open hand.

The next day, a police officer came to the school to review security footage of the incident.

According to police, the victim can be seen on tape being pushed out of a classroom by an unknown person. Once the door closed behind her, the student started kicking the door.

Police say Thornton then stepped out of her classroom and hit the victim in the back of her head. She allegedly grabbed the back of the victim's neck and pushed her down the hallway.

"It didn’t knock the student down," D.C. police commander Stuart Emerman said. "It looked like it could cause some injury and some pain to the student."

The student did not appear to assault the teacher, Emerman said.

The victim went to the principal's office and reported what happened to her.

Thornton has been charged with simple assault.

Parents at the school say they were not notified about the incident, but one parent said he wasn’t surprised by the charge.

"This doesn’t surprise me," a father with a child in Thornton’s class told News4. "I observe her and she doesn’t seem to be a very pleasant individual."

He also said the incident began in the classroom.

"She pulled or yanked the kid's arm," he said.

The parent also said the teacher told the student: "Get out of my class!"

A second staff member who works with the school's after school program is also being investigated for assault. Police say they are not charging that staff member.

The assaults both occured last month.

Both staff members have been placed on administrative leave.

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