BBC News, June 13, 2000

Teacher denies slap claim

The teacher denies the charge of assaulting the pupil A headmistress has denied slapping a boy of 10 across the face for sulking over a swimming lesson.

Marjorie Evans, 55, told Abergavenny magistrates court she was just restraining the boy after he tried to push, punch and headbutt her.

Evans is on trial for assault after allegedly slapping the boy's face in temper.

But Evans said: "He was a danger to myself, himself and other children.

"The boy turned to push me with both his hands, then tried to punch me with a rain of punches and then tried a headbutt.

"I restrained him by taking hold of his wrists and crossing his arms in front of his body.

"I did not make any other contact with him physically."

Evans is accused of losing her temper when the boy became "sullen" over missing a trip to the swimming pool with classmates.

The court heard she used her open palm to slap him on the steps of the village junior school.

Evans told magistrates the boy claimed he was going to sue her.

She said: "I told him I could take him to the police because he had tried to assault me."

Evans, of Usk, Gwent, later voluntarily went to police to be interviewed.

Magistrates heard that the boy tried to persuade another pupil to say that he had seen the headmistress hitting him.

Removed from school

But Evans told the court: "I asked the pupil if I had hit the boy and he replied that I hadn't and that he had tried to hit me instead."

The boy's mother later arrived at the school and Evans explained to her what had happened.

She claimed that at that stage the boy had admitted he had not been struck by the headteacher.

She decided to suspend the boy and asked for him to be removed from the school that day.

Evans told the court: "His mother was supportive of the school and the way we were dealing with her son."

But a member of staff at the school told the court that Evans admitted slapping the boy.

Special needs teacher Sandra Cutler said Evans was asked if she had slapped the pupil and replied: "Yes I did".

'stunned silence'

Mrs Cutler said: "She added, 'I hit him and he won't be doing that again.' "We were all in a state of shock and there was a stunned silence.

"She seemed almost proud in the way she said it with a tone of arrogance.

"It was something I hadn't wanted to hear and it upset me tremendously."

The court heard the school was in a staffing crisis when Evans had to leave her office to fill in because the boy's teacher was ill.

The boy - who cannot be named - told Abergavenny magistrates: "The argument broke out over work we were keeping in trays in the classroom.

'Pushed her'

"She grabbed me and took me outside. She picked my trays up and pushed them against my chest.

"I pushed her and she fell backwards onto the bench.

"I was trying to run away and then she slapped me across the face."

Evans denies one charge of assault on the boy, now aged 11.

The trial continues.

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