Ute Galloway was arrested on a felony charge of child abuse without great bodily harm, records show
A teacher’s assistant in central Florida was arrested after being accused by police of slapping a student for not following her instructions.
Ute Galloway, 61, was arrested by Eustis police on a felony charge of child abuse without great bodily harm on Nov. 29, according to online jail records reviewed by PEOPLE.
Galloway was allegedly seen on surveillance cameras smacking the 14-year-old Eustis Middle School student across the face as he was drawing inside a classroom on Nov. 17, according to a police report cited by local news stations WESH, WOFL and WFTV.
The suspect allegedly became frustrated with the victim, who was participating in a drawing game with other children, about his usage of an outline to draw a turkey, which she had instructed the students not to use, the report states.
The child reportedly told police that as he continued to look at the outline, Galloway "suddenly smacked him across the face,” according to the police report, cited by WOFL. The teacher’s assistant reportedly apologized after the alleged incident.
The Lake County School District told the student’s parents that they would “handle the situation” and follow up, the report states. However, when school resumed after Thanksgiving break, the school still hadn’t followed up and Galloway continued working there.
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When the parents inquired about the status of the investigation, they were reportedly told that school officials could not provide those details, prompting the parents to contact local police and press charges against Galloway, according to the report.
In a statement shared after Galloway’s arrest, a Lake County School District spokesperson told WFTV and WESH that she “has been placed in a role with no interaction with students while they investigate, which is standard protocol.”
Galloway was booked into the Lake County jail, but has since been released on bond, jail records show. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 27. It’s unclear if she has entered a plea or retained an attorney to speak on her behalf.
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