A Newfane teacher accused of hitting a child is being reassigned within the district, Superintendent Gary Pogorzelski said Tuesday.

Music teacher Marie VanDette is accused of striking a student with a xylophone mallet during a music class in October. The District previously concluded there was insufficient evidence to sustain a disciplinary proceeding against the teacher, and she was restored to duty.

The parents of the student involved, however, continued to press the allegations against the teacher. Among other things, they filed a formal Notice of Claim, which normally must be done before a lawsuit can be filed against the district. Others have since appeared before the District’s Board of Education in support of the parents.

Newfane Superintendent Gary Pogorzelski said the reassignment will permit the teacher to assist with some needed curriculum work. He also said it will permit a re-examination of the results of the original investigation, the associated claims from those supporting the parents’ allegations and the results of the inquiry being made under the notice of claim procedure.

In a released statement, Pogorzelski said “no one should conclude that the reassignment was made because of a belief that the teacher is guilty of any misconduct. Rather reassigning VanDette will not only aid the district in bringing the matter to a conclusion, but it also will relieve both the teacher and the elementary school from the distractions that have accompanied the controversy.”

Pogorzelski added once both the curriculum work and the additional investigation are complete, a final decision concerning VanDette’s status will be made.

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