NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco authorities say an elementary music teacher, irate over students talking in class, grabbed a boy and dragged him across the floor, leaving a scratch on his arm.
Cynthia Haring, 60, of 8141 Delaware Drive in Weeki Wachee, was arrested Thursday and charged with child abuse. She was later released after posting $5,000 bail.
According to her arrest report, Haring dragged the 10-year-old boy about 5 feet to a spot where she wanted him to sit on the floor. He was left with a 2-inch scratch, which he thought came from Haring's fingernail.
School officials learned about the incident a day later when three students, upset over what they'd seen happen to their classmate, told the principal.
Pasco school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said the principal called the Sheriff's Office, which sent deputies to interview Haring and the students. Haring, the report says, invoked her rights and asked for an attorney. She was then arrested.
Haring has been placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard in these types of incidents, Cobbe said. Only the School Board, with a recommendation from the superintendent, can suspend a teacher without pay by way of a vote at a regular meeting. The next meeting is Tuesday. Cobbe said it's possible Haring's case could be placed on the agenda by then.
Haring declined to comment about the incident.
She moved to Florida in 1997 and taught English as a second language as a resource teacher who assisted other teachers in Hernando. She moved to the Pasco school district in 2006. Those resource positions were eliminated, and she is now a music teacher who floats between Calusa and Deer Park elementary schools.
She is most well known locally for the multicultural touring musical group of students she started. The middle school group, called World Nation, toured outdoor festivals and performed around the region, singing songs in Japanese, Russian, Spanish and other languages. Haring began several versions of the group, and even took students to record their songs in Tampa.
Cobbe said Haring would not return to the classroom before her criminal case is resolved.
"It's not a guarantee she'll be back in the classroom even then," Cobbe said.