Thursday, July 23, 2020

Ex-Racine Catholic school teacher charged with child abuse for grabbing student's head; student reportedly singing 'Frozen' song

From The Journal

Journal Times staff

RACINE — A former teacher at Our Lady of Grace Academy has been charged with felony physical abuse of a child following a January incident when she allegedly grabbed a student’s head “from behind and snapped (the student’s) head back.”

The teacher, Bernadette B. Brownson-Borcher, 71, of Mount Pleasant, also previously worked at St. Catherine’s High School as an art teacher.

According to a criminal complaint:

The incident leading to the charges took place on Jan. 17 at Our Lady of Grace Academy, formerly known as St. Edward’s Grade School, at 1435 Grove Ave.

Four students were “singing a song from the new ‘Frozen’ movie when Brownson-Borcher walked up behind one of the students. Brownson-Borcher then placed her right hand on the student’s forehead and her left hand on the student’s chin, and then “quickly (and) abruptly snapped (the student’s) head back,” according to what the student and the other students who witnessed the incident told police.

The student was later taken to Ascension All Saints Hospital and diagnosed with a minor strain or sprain, according to police. The student’s mother told police that the student now has ongoing pain resulting from muscle tightness in their neck, and that the student is now undergoing physical therapy.

Brownson-Borcher reportedly told the students “I meant to cover your mouth.” A teaching assistant who was in the room said that she did not see the incident, but that Brownson-Borcher claimed “I only put my hands on her mouth.”

According to the complaint, when Brownson-Borcher was interviewed by police, she “denied putting hands on” the student. She claimed to have “reached her hand out” near the student “and may have brushed against” the student.

She made her initial appearance in court on Wednesday via Zoom, records show, when a $1,000 signature bond was set.

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I went to Catholic schools in the 1950's and 60's.  This is nothing compared to the stuff I witnessed and endured.  I once saw a teacher break a large wooden pointer over a student's head.  Just part of the job . . .

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