GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Kent County Prosecutor has announced he will not be filing criminal charges against a teacher accused of assaulting two different students.
Robert Spaeth had been accused in October 2017 and again in October 2018 of physical altercations with students at Kent Hills Elementary School. Prosecutor Chris Becker said Friday that Spaeth will not face criminal charges due to a lack of evidence.
The October 2017 case involved a student who had brought pointed scissors to school from home. Spaeth thought the scissors belonged to the school and demanded them to be returned. The student refused and Spaeth lifted him out of the room. The student had claimed that Spaeth grabbed him by the throat. Other students who witnessed the incident did not corroborate the entire story and one parent refused to let police interview her child.
The October 2018 case involved an eight-year-old who told his mother that Spaeth grabbed him by the back of the neck and squeezed and he couldn’t breathe. When questioned, he could not remember the day it happened. Also, police interviewed three other students who did not corroborate the story. No one in the class said they saw any physical contact between Spaeth and the student. Spaeth denied having any physical contact with the child.
Becker says that while there was physical contact in the first case, contact by a teacher with a student is not in itself against the law. Becker says in both cases there is not enough evidence to file charges.