Education Week on the Web, March 17, 1999

Teacher Charged With Beatings

A Miami 1st grade teacher was arrested last week and charged with felony child abuse for allegedly using a flat stick to spank a half-dozen students in her class.

Mariefrance Milhomme, 29, a third-year teacher at Henry Reeves Elementary School, a publicly funded school operated by the Edison Project, disciplined students by "beating them with a 21-inch, heavy-duty paint stick," district police alleged. Officials of the 347,000-student Miami-Dade County district said anonymous phone calls prompted an investigation.

Ms. Milhomme was released from a Miami detention center on $30,000 bail. She has been removed from the classroom and will work in the district's offices pending the outcome of the case.

Each of the six counts of the charge carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison. Ms. Milhomme's lawyer, Edward L. Tobin, said he expected that a thorough investigation would exonerate his client.

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