Two Missouri principals accused of not reporting violence

Two eastern Missouri middle school principals are facing misdemeanor charges, alleging they violated the Missouri Safe Schools Act by failing to report violence.

St. Francois County prosecutor Jerrod Mahurin filed charges this week against Central Middle School principal Mike Harlow and vice principal Tracie Casey. Neither had a listed attorney.

A probable cause statement said school resource officer Craig Newberry learned that a 14-year-old boy struck a 12-year-old girl in the buttocks with his knee, causing a tail bone fracture. The incident happened at the school on March 29 and was not reported to police by either principal.

Central superintendent Desi Mayberry said a district review found that the injury happened during horseplay and wasn’t an assault that needed to be reported Act. A spokeswoman fsaid Wednesday that both principals are still on the job.

The Safe Schools Act requires administrators to report an act of violence to police as soon as reasonably practical.

Last week, a detective spoke with the two principals. Both said they were aware that the girl had been injured by the boy but did not report it.

The probable cause statement said Casey told police her own daughter had been playing with the same boy, which resulted in bruises to her arm. The vice principal said she spoke to the boy earlier in the day on March 29 – before the 12-year-old girl was hurt – and told him to keep his hands to himself.

Mayberry said the case raises concerns that all teachers and principals in the county are at risk of criminal charges every time a student gets hurt while under their care.

But Mahurin said he will prosecute any case necessary to protect victims, especially children.