AP, October 22, 2004
A teacher-parent brawl in front of 19 primary school pupils sent a mother to the emergency room and the teacher to jail. Teacher Katrina Ann Rucker, 30, is charged with battery and cruelty to children for allegedly beating a parent who tried to retrieve her daughter’s book bag, The Macon Telegraph newspaper reported Friday.
According to police interviews, parent Lurella Amica went to Bruce-Weir Elementary School Thursday morning to deliver a note to her 9-year-old daughter.
At the classroom door, the girl told her mother that Rucker had thrown her bag in the trash can, the report stated. Amica entered the classroom and tried to get the book bag, but Rucker grabbed for it and the two struggled, the report said.
After Amica wrestled the bag away, police say Rucker picked up a chair and hit her in the back, knocking Amica to the floor. Rucker then began punching Amica in the face and body.
During the fight, the girl was reportedly crying for her teacher to stop hitting her mother and ran up to them. Rucker then allegedly hit the child, pulled her hair and pushed her out of the way before starting to strike the mother again.
Rucker dragged Amica by the hair outside the classroom, according to the report. “A school administrator and another teacher had to pull the teacher off the mother,” Macon police spokeswoman Melanie Hofmann said. In Rucker’s account of the story, she said Amica hit her hand during the initial struggle, Hofmann said. “The teacher said she was defending herself because she gets a shot in that hand and it hurt,” Hofmann said. Amica was in stable condition in the emergency room of The Medical Center of Central Georgia late Thursday night.
Rucker was placed on administrative leave. Sylvia McGee, Bibb County’s deputy superintendent, said school staff called the parent or guardian of each child in the class. Social workers counseled students, and only Amica’s daughter left school early. Principal Karen Konke sent letters to parents about the incident. “Let me assure you the school is safe and that our students have been involved in appropriate instructional activities throughout the day,” Konke wrote.