Special education teacher accused of throwing boy across classroom

A Spring Elementary School special education teacher is facing two assault charges on claims of throwing a child across a classroom.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:09 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG/Gray News) - A special education teacher at an Ohio elementary school is facing two assault charges following claims he threw a 9-year-old boy across a classroom.

Marcela Graciani was at work Tuesday when she got the call that her 9-year-old son, Jaxson, was allegedly assaulted by his Spring Elementary School teacher, Garrett Pelz. The boy’s mother says she thought she could trust the people who watch her children, but now, she’s unsure.

“He told him to sit down. He ended up sitting on the desk, and the teacher grabbed him up by his shoulders and threw him across the room. He hit his head and face on the ground,” Graciani said. “He has a little gash above his eye. It looks like a rug burn under his eye, and his teeth almost went through his whole lip.”

According to court documents, school staff had to remove other students from the classroom to clean up blood left on the carpet from the alleged incident, WTVG reports.

Graciani is concerned that Pelz works with students who have mental health issues and worries they will have to deal with more trauma because of the alleged incident. She says Pelz should never work with children again.

Pelz faces charges of assault and safe school assault. In court Wednesday, he entered a not guilty plea and was released on his own recognizance.

Graciani is a single mother of five children. She says she can’t home school but doesn’t feel comfortable sending her kids back.

“How are my other kids going to react now when they go to school? They may have regular classes, but what if the next teacher decides they’re having a bad day, and they don’t take the right precautions and another kid gets hurt?” she said.

She added that she’s looking into her legal options and other potential schooling options for her kids.

According to a statement from Toledo Public Schools Deputy Superintendent James Gant, Pelz is on paid adminstrative leave during an internal investigation. He said the district could not comment on specifics of the alleged incident.

“The number one priority for the district is the safety and security of our students and staff members, and any time there is a reported incident between a student and staff member, the district takes swift and appropriate action,” read Gant’s statement in part.

This is the second recent incident in which a school district employee allegedly assaulted a student. WTVG reported a paraprofessional was accused of slamming a student’s head on a desk and breaking his front teeth just two weeks ago.