FREMONT (KCBS) — A Fremont elementary school teacher accused of slapping a third-grade student last month did not return to his classroom as planned Friday. After objections and a protest by the boy’s parents and their supporters, Fremont police announced Friday that they have reopened their investigation into the incident.
Nine-year-old Julian Rivera claims he was grabbed his cheeks hard and then slapped twice in the face by his teacher, Frederick Berg, at Patterson Elementary School, located at 35521 Cabrillo Drive,, on April 28th because he couldn’t answer a math problem.
“I was just scared that he was going to hit me again or do something bad,” he said.
A Fremont police officer went to the school the next day and after an initial investigation was told by the family that they were satisfied with the school district handling the incident internally. Berg was then put on paid leave.
Fremont schools Assistant Superintendent Robert Lee said that after an investigation by the district and Fremont police, appropriate action was taken and that Berg was cleared to return to work on Friday morning.
Lee said the findings of the school district’s determination are confidential.
But Rivera’s family and community members staged a protest at the school and police said they would reopen their investigation.
Lee said Berg was put back on paid leave and that the teacher is remorseful.
“He wishes he could come back. He wishes no harm on the student and hopes that things will return to normalcy.”
Attorney Dionne Choyce, who is representing Julian and his parents, said when the boy’s father, Danny Rivera Jr., arrived at the school last Tuesday to pick up his son, the boy was crying and told him what had happened.
“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 said that other students in classroom witnessed the incident and corroborated the story to Rivera.
In the meantime, Choyce also said he is preparing to file a claim against the school district,
The investigation, police said, could take several weeks.