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Shirt-pulling incident lands Baton Rouge teacher in jail

Assault and battery are often linked, as if the two words mean the same thing. The terms have important differences, especially for Louisiana defendants facing one of these criminal charges. Under Louisiana laws 14:35 and 14:38, assault and battery are violent crimes, although assault may occur without any actual contact.

A Baton Rouge teacher was jailed, after a student alleged she battered him. Police charged the instructor with simple battery, a misdemeanor punishable by a jail term up to six-months. Fines are as high as $1,000.

The Baker School Superintendent said he was told the boy refused the teacher's request to tuck his shirt into his pants three times. The teacher reportedly grabbed the shirt as the boy tried to move around her and enter a classroom. The alleged victim and his mother had a slightly different version of the story.

The male student said the teacher "yanked" hard on his shirt to pull him out of the room. Other teachers did not see what happened but confirmed the student seemed emotionally distressed. Authorities admitted the teacher was jailed, partly because she refused to give a statement without an attorney present.

The woman was the second teacher to be charged with battery within weeks. Another teacher allegedly placed her hands on the neck of a misbehaving student to control him, while holding the seventh-grader on the ground. The paraprofessional told police she felt threatened by the boy.

The teacher in the reported choking incident was given a summons and released. The instructor who reportedly pulled on a student's shirt was jailed. The school superintendent felt the law enforcers' response to the shirt-pulling incident seemed hasty.

Battery involves touch, but assault may not. A simple assault charge can include a credible threat of physical harm that may never be carried out. A simple battery charge alleges a defendant used force or violence during physical contact.

Source: The Advocate, "Police Chief Knaps: Baker teacher jailed for 'yanking' student's shirt" Steven Ward, Mar. 14, 2014

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