According to The Advocate, on February 7, 37-year-old teacher Melissa Blank was upset when a student “swatted the learning materials Blank was using for instruction that day.” Allegedly, Blank, who teaches at Brusly Elementary School teacher, which is outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana “walked up to the student and swung the child around to face her before grabbing the child by the face/neck and pushing the student against the closet doors, the witness told police.”
According to an adult witness, Blank yelled, “You aren’t going to touch my things, you aren’t going to act like this!” Blank also “started pinching the child’s shoulder, bruising the child’s skin.” The witness claimed “Blank then used three chairs to block the door so no one could leave. The police report does not say how long the students were kept in the classroom.”
On February 21, she was charged with 15 counts of false imprisonment, one count of cruelty to juveniles and simple battery. Now, according to a press release she issued through her attorneys, all charges have been dropped. The statement read in part, “I was innocent of these charges and the children I have taught are all close to my heart. From the beginning of this, I cooperated fully with the school and law enforcement and gave a full statement as to what happened. I have not commented earlier as my private attorney advised me to ‘not try this matter in the press’ while this was ongoing and allow the process to work for me because he said an innocent person can get justice in our legal system. I am pleased that after a full review of all of the facts, the district attorney’s office has decided to drop these charges.”
District Attorney prosecutor Tony Clayton also spoke out, claiming what Blank reportedly did was not cruel. “We looked at cruelty to a juvenile. It just does not rise to that level of criminal conduct. The charge that gave me as well as the mother the most problems, was the charge of simple battery. I had to make the determination as to whether or not to expose this teacher to six months in jail because she grabbed the student by the jaw. Although it’s conduct I would not have done, it just doesn’t rise to the level of exposing her to jail time.” As far as trapping children in the classroom, he said, “A teacher who puts a desk behind a door, charged with false imprisonment is equivalent to, in my opinion, if a teacher tells a student he can’t go out to recess and he should stay in the class.”
Regardless if Melissa Blank deserved jail time, she certainly shouldn’t be a teacher after grabbing a student by the jaw. As we said before, let’s imagine if this teacher happened to be Black.