The Associated Press, December 9, 1998

Substitute Faces Child Abuse Charge

CARROLLTON, Texas (AP) -- A substitute teacher faces three felony child abuse charges alleging she choked a fourth-grade boy who tried to swipe a look at his grade and swung two girls by their arms in class.

Deena Murdoch, 52, planned to surrender today to face the charges, said her lawyer, Ted Steinke. He refused to comment.

The teacher allegedly became angry during a creative dramatics class at Indian Creek Elementary on Nov. 18, said police Sgt. Jim Adams.

He said Ms. Murdoch apparently grabbed 9-year-old by the neck for several seconds when he went to his desk after a round of charades and attempted to look at a card with his grade.

The boy was treated at Trinity Medical Center in Carrollton for soft-tissue damage and visible bruises, Adams said.

Two girls, ages 9 and 10, suffered cuts and bruises when they were grabbed by the arms and swung around, Adams said. The girls told police that after the boy was accosted, they got up for another round of charades.

``The teacher grabs them and tells them to sit down,'' Adams said.

Ms. Murdoch was taken off the district's list of available substitutes on the day of the alleged incident, said Jay Reed, assistant director of personnel for the district.

The teacher had been on the list since September. She previously served as a substitute in Plano schools, officials said.

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