Teacher accused of assaulting student who wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

Karen Smith in a photo from CBS Denver.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. (AP/CBS News) — Police say they’re investigating an allegation that a Colorado middle school teacher assaulted a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

UPDATE: Teacher accused of forcing child to stand for Pledge to face child abuse charges

KUSA-TV reports the teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave while officers look into the alleged incident, which occurred Thursday at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette, about 22 miles north of downtown Denver.

Police did not give details about the nature of the alleged assault.

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Boulder Valley School District spokesman Randy Barber says district policy allows students to stand or sit for the flag pledge.

Barber identified the teacher as Karen Smith, a 20-year employee of the district who teaches physical education.

The school’s principal, Mike Medina, sent a letter home to parents Thursday evening notifying them there had been an “incident” involving Smith but said he could not elaborate.

The Lafayette Police Department responded to an incident at the school around noon Thursday.

A parent waiting to pick her child up at Angevine Friday afternoon told CBS Denver that her daughter knows Smith as a “strict” teacher but has never had an issue.

Two other parents who spoke to CBS Denver off camera said they believe the story has been “blown out of proportion” and expressed disappointment.

The school is working closely with the Lafayette Police Department on the investigation. For now, it has hired a substitute teacher to take Smith’s place. No charges have been filed.

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