FREMONT (CBS SF) — The family of a Fremont third grade student who was allegedly slapped in the face by a teacher last week is planning a protest after learning the teacher has been cleared to return to work Friday.
Danny Rivera Jr. said Thursday that a teacher at Patterson Elementary School, located at 35521 Cabrillo Drive, slapped his 9-year-old son in the face because he did not know the answer to a math problem.
Attorney Dionne Choyce, who is representing Rivera and his son, said when Rivera arrived at the school last Tuesday to pick his son up, the boy was crying and told him that the teacher, Frederick Berg, had grabbed his cheeks hard and then slapped him twice in the face because he didn’t know the answer to a math problem.
Other students in the classroom witnessed the incident and corroborated the story to Rivera, Choyce said.
Choyce said that when Rivera confronted school principal Marlene Davis about the incident she questioned the teacher in front of Rivera’s son, who he said admitted to touching the student but said that it was only a pat on the face, not a slap.
Fremont schools Assistant Superintendent Bob Lee confirmed Thursday afternoon that Berg had been placed on administrative leave on Tuesday but that after an investigation by the district and Fremont police, appropriate action was taken and the teacher is scheduled to return to work Friday.
The decision was made at a meeting Thursday where Rivera objected to the decision, Rivera said.
“He slapped my son in the face,” Rivera said. Rivera, a union sheet metal worker with Local 104, said he has been missing work for the last two weeks while dealing with the incident and his son is now terrified to go to school.
“If they cared they wouldn’t have this guy at all at the school because what about the other kids in that class?” Rivera said.
Choyce is preparing to file a claim against the school district, he said, while Rivera is planning an 8 a.m. protest with other parents at the school over the teacher returning to work.
Lee said the findings of the school district’s determination are confidential.
“”Every incident that’s reported is taken very seriously by the Fremont Unified School District and student safety is our number one priority,” he said.
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