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Milton principal to remain on leave

Published On: Mar 11 2014 05:17:16 PM CDT

Harmony Elementary School in Milton

MILTON, Wis. -

The principal of a Milton elementary school will remain on leave until her retirement at the end of the school year after accusations that she assaulted a special-needs student.

Harmony Elementary School Principal Jeanne Smith was placed on paid administrative leave after the Feb. 18 incident.

The Milton School Board decided Monday night to let her use accrued sick-leave time until the end of the school year. The board accepted her letter of retirement for the end of the year in January.

Milton School District Superintendent Tim Schigur said the district will appoint someone to take over for Smith in the short term, and will also be posting the position and starting the hiring process.

“It is in the best interest that we parted ways,” Schigur said. “Miss Smith decided it was best that she step aside and allow someone else to continue.”

A Janesville police report about the incident said two aides reported to district administration that Smith physically restrained a 7-year-old boy in a way they thought was not appropriate. Officers investigated the report and determined there was not probable cause to charge Smith with a crime.

The aides told police Smith said, “I’m going to antagonize him,” before going into the room and making him sit down against a wall with his legs crossed. They said she stepped on one of his ankles to keep from getting kicked.

One of the witnesses told police they heard Smith yell comments similar to, “You’re a rotten kid,” and “I don’t care.” She also heard the boy yell, “You’re hurting me.”

They told police Smith left the room when a parent arrived in the office, and the situation calmed down.

Smith admitted to grabbing the boy's ankles and pushing him into a corner but denied calling him “rotten.” She said she might have used the word “antagonize,” but didn’t specifically recall saying she was going to antagonize him.

A detective didn’t find any evidence of injuries to the boy.

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