MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A former substitute teacher at a Bloomington elementary school is in jail after allegedly yanking a group of students out of class, cursing at them and then trying to talk with one victim while an investigation was ongoing, court documents filed Thursday say.

Fifty-nine-year-old Laura Avery, of Bloomington, is charged with one count of malicious punishment of a child (a gross misdemeanor) and one count of tampering with a witness (a misdemeanor).

According to a criminal complaint, Oak Grove Elementary School relieved Avery of her duties on Dec. 13. On the following day, authorities received a report of her alleged actions and began an investigation.

That investigation showed Avery was a regular substitute for the fifth grade class of her reported victims. On Dec. 13, school personnel found some of Avery’s students crying in the hallway and reported that Avery cursed at and hurt them.

Avery told the students to get into a circle or she would slap them, the complaint says. When upset by classroom behavior, she reportedly said she was “tired of this f—ing crap,” and when students corrected her pronunciations of their names, she said she “didn’t give a f—“ about their names.

Witnesses said Avery grabbed one student by the neck and slapped the student’s shoulder. She reportedly dragged another student into the hallway by the hair. Two other students said their arms hurt after being dragged out into the hall.

Later, Avery reportedly showed up at the home of the student whose hair she pulled, asking about how the class was.

When talking to authorities, the complaint said, Avery denied all allegations, expect one – showing up at the student’s house.

If convicted of both charges, Avery faces a maximum penalty of 1 year in prison and/or a $4,000 fine.


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