A South Carolina teacher was accused of dragging a seventh-grade student by his shirt collar under a table, telling him that this is what the Nazis do to Jews, police said Monday.
On Wednesday, the 12-year-old boy from Bluffton Middle School, South Carolina, told the police that his social studies teacher, Patricia Mulholland, grabbed him by his collar while he was returning to his desk after sharpening pencil and dragged him 10 feet under a table and said, Come here, Jew.
The student said that he did not know what to do and was shocked and appalled. In the evening, he informed his parents about the alleged incident, and the parents decided to press charge against the teacher.
Ten witness statements by other students in the class that day all coincide with the story of the student, The Island Packet reported quoting police, Lt. Joe Babkiewicz.
Their accounts are all pretty much the same, Babkiewicz said.
However, the teacher said that she had been just trying to teach students a lesson about the Holocaust.
Robert Ferguson, her attorney, said that she was merely conducting her social studies classes on the Holocaust during a class Wednesday. What was a demonstrative attempt to teach about World War II and the Holocaust has been taken to mean an anti-Semitic rant and it was nothing like that, Ferguson said.
The teacher was arrested Monday on charges of third-degree assault and battery and public disorderly conduct, Babkiewicz said. However, she was released later that morning on her own recognizance.
Ferguson said Mulholland hadn't faced any problems in her 23-year of career as teacher with Beaufort County schools.
This is such a sensitive topic. But what do you determine is instructive teaching? Where is that line? he said.
Mulholland had been placed on administrative leave since Thursday, school district officials said.
However, the police officials refused to say whether the boy was Jewish.
According to school district spokesman Jim Foster, school principal Dereck Rhoads has began the investigation when a teacher told him about the incident.
I have been in contact with the principal, and there is no description of any activity in her upcoming lesson plans that describe any of this, Foster said.