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Teacher Charged with Choking Students Taught Kindergarten at Meadow Hall

Officials: No reports of similar conduct by Burke while at the Rockville school.

Susan Lee Burke, the first-grade teacher charged with assaulting nine students at Greencastle Elementary School in Silver Spring, previously worked at Meadow Hall Elementary School, the principal of the Rockville school said in a letter to parents on Wednesday.

Burke, of Laurel, posted $75,000 bail and was released from jail on Wednesday, a day after she was  stemming from the alleged incidents involving Greencastle students.

Burke taught kindergarten at from 2001 to 2009, before requesting a voluntary transfer to Greencastle, county schools spokesman Dana Tofig said, confirming details first reported on Wednesday in The Washington Post.

The transfer was at Burke's request and was not due to staff reductions at Meadow Hall or to disciplinary issues, Tofig said.

"I want to assure you that during Mrs. Burke's time at Meadow Hall we did not receive any reports or information that led us to suspect any behavior that was similar to the conduct alleged by these charges," principal Cabell W. Lloyd and assistant principal Elliot Alter wrote in a letter sent to parents on Wednesday. "Staff is monitoring the reaction of students who may have had Mrs. Burke and counseling services for students are available for them."

A copy of the full letter can be found by clicking on the PDF to the right of this article.

Burke was charged after a 7-year-old boy arrived at the Briggs Chaney substation on Jan. 7 and reported that he had been assaulted on numerous occasions by  his first-grade teacher, according to a county police news release.

Interviews of all 16 of Burke's students at Greencastle led county detectives to identify eight of the alleged victims, all 6 or 7 years old and all of whom said that Burke had choked them, the release said. Some students said that the teacher also kicked, punched, scratched or squeezed their arms tightly, according to the release.

The children told police that the alleged incidents occurred at the school during regular hours throughout the month of December, the release said. Another child alleged that an incident happened at school during school hours in March 2010.

"None of these types of allegations were brought up while she was at Meadow Hall," Tofig said. “As soon as these allegations were brought to the attention of [Greencastle] she was taken out of the classroom.”

Montgomery County Public Schools released a statement that said: "These allegations were brought to the attention of MCPS staff on January 4 and the teacher was immediately removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave. This teacher remains on administrative leave pending further personnel action. We cannot discuss specific personnel issues but be assured we take these allegations very seriously. It is important to note that this teacher has not been in the classroom since this allegation was raised on Jan. 4."

Burke is scheduled to appear in District Court in Rockville at 8:30 a.m. on March 29.

Anyone with information regarding inappropriate contact between Burke and a minor is asked to contact the county police's Family Crimes Division at 240-773-5400. Callers may remain anonymous.

Lee Givens February 12, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Yikes. I think she needs to rethink career choices!
JimCT October 17, 2011 at 06:03 PM
And the Teachers Union will see to it that she gets paid, keeps her pension and retains full medical benefits even if they sit her in a room without students for the rest of her career. Im am so sick of the Unions putting self-interest above the interests of the children. A shockingly large segment of these teachers want a cushy job where they can exploit or abuse children knowing that the Unions and the Democrats will give them maximum protection. Disgusting.

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