ROME – Two educators with the Rome City School District have been arrested for what is being called “excessive discipline.”
According to the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, on June 20, 30-year-old Ashley Rasbach and 47-year-old Maria Fountain, both of Rome, were arrested on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and second degree harassment, a violation. Deputies say the Sheriff’s Office's Juvenile Aid Unit was called to investigate a report of “excessive discipline” at John E. Joy Elementary School, where Rasbach is a teacher and Fountain is a teacher's assistant.
Sheriff Rob Maciol says an adult at the school witnessed the alleged excessive discipline and reported it.
“The allegations, we felt strongly that some very unique and unusual disciplinary measures … there’s allegations that a spray bottle was used to discipline the children. There was some pushing alleged,” Maciol said.
Deputies say Rasbach and Fountain were released and they are due to appear in Rome City Court on June 29.
Rome City School District Superintendent Peter Blake issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to the arrests, and he says that both employees are currently on leave from their positions.
"As we understand it, the charges, while not condoned by the District and are serious in nature, are merely accusations at this point and both women, like all citizens, are presumed innocent of any criminal offense unless and until proven guilty in a court of law," a portion of Blake's statement read. "We intend to take all steps necessary to respect Ms. Rasbach’s and Ms. Fountain’s rights while, at the same time, taking all prudent steps to ensure the welfare and safety of our students."
NEWSChannel 2 has reached out to the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and we are working to learn more information.
You can read Blake's full statement here: