Colorado teacher charged with child abuse after allegedly forcing student to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

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LAFAYETTE, Colo. -- A Colorado middle school teacher accused of assaulting a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance will be charged with child abuse and assault, the Boulder District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Angevine Middle School physical education teacher Karen Smith, a 20-year employee of the Boulder Valley School District, is accused of forcefully making a male student stand for the Pledge by lifting him to his feet by his jacket and removing him from the classroom, officials said.

Smith is charged with child abuse (recklessly with injury) and third-degree assault.

Smith was processed at the Lafayette Police Department on Wednesday and was released with a summons.

Principal Mike Medina sent a a letter to students' families.

I want to provide you with an update regarding the investigation that we shared with our school community a couple weeks ago. Today we learned that the Boulder District Attorney’s Office has formally charged Angevine Middle School Physical Education Teacher Karen Smith.

Angevine and the Boulder Valley School District are cooperating with the District Attorney’s Office and respect their decision on this matter. While we are unable to share more because it is a legal and personnel matter that the school district is actively investigating, I, again, want to reaffirm that our focus remains firmly on our students.

As you may know we have found an excellent long-term substitute to support our students in PE, along with Mr. Atencio, through the end of the year. Genevieve Aragon has subbed at Angevine and other BVSD schools previously and has already been working with our students in Ms. Smith’s absence. So far, I’ve received very positive reports from students and staff alike.

Thank you to all of your for your support and patience during this time.

Smith is on paid administrative leave from the school district.