BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Boardman Local Schools teacher is facing a charges for what police said was excessive discipline of a young child.
Mary Rowan, 37, was arrested at a Canfield home on Thursday and charged with domestic violence and endangering children. The incident involved an acquaintance of Rowan’s, not any of Boardman Schools’ students.
Rowan, who is 33-weeks pregnant, told police that she tried to discipline a child by pouring baby soap in his mouth. She said the boy was misbehaving and had pushed her down.
During a struggle, Rowan told police she was struck in the mouth. Police said she had a small amount of blood on her lip, but had no visible cuts.
Police said the child involved in the incident had several red bruises and scratches on his face.
He told an officer that Rowan hit him several times with a wooden spoon and attempted to put soap in his mouth for misbehaving. He told police he didn’t know how he got the facial injuries but said he was trying to get away from Rowan.
Another child called 911.
In a police report, Rowan gave a voluntary statement, saying the child was “screaming and acting like a wild animal” and that he was acting “like a lunatic.”
Police said they got even more information during the investigation.
“When the first officer…was still on scene, the father came home and engaged in a conversation with him,” said Capt. Steve McGeary with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office. “He did state that when he left the home, there were no marks on his child.”
Police determined that the discipline was excessive and Rowan had the opportunity to back off.
“The line that you would cross is if it would create a substantial harm to the child or if injuries are clearly present on the child…and can be seen by the officer,” McGeary said.
He said based on photographs of the child submitted during Rowan’s arraignment Friday morning, it was an easy thing for the officers to determine.
Another relative of the child said the entire case is ridiculous.
Rowan was taken to Mahoning County Jail Thursday and is now free on $2,500 bond. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Boardman Superintendent Tim Saxton said Rowan has been working for the last nine years at West Boulevard Elementary School as an intervention specialist.
The district released a statement Friday after being contacted by WKBN about the charges:
Boardman School Superintendent Tim Saxton has placed teacher Mary Rowan on administrative leave while the police investigation into charges against her continues.
Saxton also said safety is the district’s top priority and Boardman Schools work to ensure the responsibility and professionalism of employees.
A pretrial was set for 4 p.m. on September 13.