This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
A Colorado teacher was charged with child abuse and assault after she allegedly forced a student to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Karen Smith, a physical education teacher at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette, was accused of forcefully making a male student stand for the pledge by grabbing his jacket, lifting him to his feet and removing him from the classroom on Feb. 1, according to KDVR.
Boulder Valley School District spokesman Randy Barber told the Denver Post that the district’s policy states that students are allowed to either sit or stand during the pledge.
After a brief investigation, the Boulder District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday that Smith would be charged with child abuse and third-degree assault.
The school’s principal, Mike Medina, sent the following letter to students’ families in regards to the incident.
“I want to provide you with an update regarding the investigation that we shared with our school community a couple weeks ago. Today we learned that the Boulder District Attorney’s Office has formally charged Angevine Middle School Physical Education Teacher Karen Smith.
Angevine and the Boulder Valley School District are cooperating with the District Attorney’s Office and respect their decision on this matter. While we are unable to share more because it is a legal and personnel matter that the school district is actively investigating, I, again, want to reaffirm that our focus remains firmly on our students.
As you may know we have found an excellent long-term substitute to support our students in PE, along with Mr. Atencio, through the end of the year. Genevieve Aragon has subbed at Angevine and other BVSD schools previously and has already been working with our students in Ms. Smith’s absence. So far, I’ve received very positive reports from students and staff alike.
Thank you to all of your for your support and patience during this time.”
Smith, who has worked for the school district for over 20 years, was processed at the Lafayette Police Department on Wednesday and released with a court summons.