Boardman teacher on leave after charged in incident with child at home
By Jordyn Grzelewski
and Bruce Walton
Tim Saxton, superintendent of Boardman schools, placed a teacher on administrative leave Friday after discovering she was charged with domestic violence and child endangering.
Mary Rowan, 37, of Palmyra Road, Canfield, is accused of pouring baby soap into the mouth of a 9-year-old child. The incident occurred at her home, and did not involve a student from Boardman schools. Rowan works as an intervention specialist at West Boulevard Elementary School.
A Mahoning County deputy sheriff responded to the home Thursday morning, according to a report, for a 911 medical call. There, the deputy reportedly found Rowan crying, holding a tissue to her bloody mouth.
Rowan, who is pregnant, told police she attempted to discipline a child who is not her own by pouring baby soap in his mouth “for misbehaving.” She reported a struggle then ensued.
Rowan told the deputy the child “was having a meltdown and screaming and acting like a wild animal,” according to a written statement in which she also described being concerned for her unborn child.
“I told him to stop screaming or he was going to get soap in his mouth. He continued to scream and act like a lunatic,” she wrote. “I tried to put baby soap in his mouth. He pushed me down trying to get away from me. I tried to grab his face to put the soap in but he kept fighting me, and pushing me down.”
A deputy reported the child “had several red bruises and scratches on the right side of his face,” according to the report. The child also reported that Rowan struck him with a wooden spoon.
Based on observations and interviews at the scene, law-enforcement officials found Rowan’s attempt at discipline was excessive and that she “had an opportunity to back off.”
Rowan appeared in Mahoning County Area Court here Friday, where she pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. She is free on $2,500 bond and is scheduled to return to court Sept. 13.
Saxton said he received a call from the school resource officer about the incident late Friday morning.
The district later released a statement confirming that Rowan had been placed on administrative leave “while the police investigation into charges against her continues.”
In the nine years Rowan has been employed at the school, Saxton said he’s never personally received or heard any complaints about her behavior or actions.
He added the incident won’t affect the staff preparing for the beginning of the school year, which starts Monday.