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GFW teacher accused of assaulting child

Renee Schmidt, GFW School website

A teacher at Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop Elementary School is facing accusations that she inappropriately handled a student.

Renee Lorraine Schmidt, 50, was charged last week in Sibley County Court with malicious punishment of a child and fifth-degree assault, both misdemeanors, in Sibley County Court.

According to a criminal complaint, the school’s resource officer reviewed surveillance video after receiving a report of an incident involving Schmidt, the speech teacher, and a 6-year-old girl.

The officer saw Schmidt on surveillance drag the child out of a classroom by the arms, according to the complaint.  Schmidt then tried to lift the child up by her wrists to get the girl to stand up, according to the officer’s account.  When the girl refused to stand, Schmidt placed the child into a bear-hug hold and carried her down two hallways, two flights of stairs, and into the Kindergarten room, says the complaint.

The child appeared panicked, and her feet were off the ground the entire time, according to the officer’s surveillance observations.

Court documents say other staff members observed the incident and heard the child screaming that she could not breathe.

The girl told investigators that she couldn’t breathe while Schmidt carried her and that Schmidt had hurt her.

Schmidt told another staff member that the girl was being awful in speech, according to the complaint.  She admitted she had carried the child down the back staircase so that the principal would not see her.

The charging document says Schmidt spoke of having to “carry the child so far she almost had a heart attack.” Schmidt admitted the girl had been yelling she couldn’t breathe, but said “everyone knows that the child is a liar,”

Schmidt has had training in Crisis Prevention Intervention, according to the complaint. 

Superintendent Jeff Horton told SMN in an email that the GFW School Board voted on a resolution to discharge a teacher during a closed session on Monday night. He was not able to disclose the name of the educator.

The school board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution, according to Horton.

Schmidt’s photo and bio, which were active Tuesday morning, have since been removed from the GFW website.

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