A Broward County Public Schools elementary teacher was arrested Tuesday on one count of child neglect without great bodily harm after allegedly scratching a misbehaving student with a thumbtack and punishing him by brushing his hair, police said.
A Pembroke Park Police officer went to Watkins Elementary School on Tuesday morning and met with a Department of Children and Families case worker regarding an investigation of teacher Rhonda Danielsbishop, 57, who was accused of abusing a child in her class, according to the affidavit.
A student’s mother noticed scratch marks on her son’s arms, and her son said he got them from his teacher Danielsbishop “poking” him with a “push pin” and that she punishes him by ‘combing his hair,’” the affidavit said.
The DCF case worker spoke to the student, who said his teacher scratched him and brushed his hair with a comb for “hitting other students,” the affidavit said. Three minor students in the class told the DCF case worker that they had seen Danielsbishop yelling at their classmate often because they said he misbehaved and was a nuisance in the class.
The students told the DCF investigator that their teacher would grab their classmate by his arm when yelling at him, and all three said they had seen their teacher comb his hair when he was acting out, the affidavit said. One child said he saw Danielsbishop scratch the student with a thumbtack.
Both police and the DCF worker saw scratch marks on the boy’s arms, the affidavit said. In an interview with the DCF worker, Danielsbishop denied scratching the student but said she had brushed the boy’s hair twice because she said it was a distraction and he was constantly touching it, according to the affidavit.
“Daniels admitted on (body-worn camera) that she knew (the student) disliked when she would brush his hair, because he would state ‘OW!’, but admitted she continued to do it …” the affidavit said.
The affidavit said Danielsbishop admitted to an officer that she stabbed the student with the thumbtack on his arms at least three times after denying the allegation to the DCF investigator.
“When I asked Daniels why she was poking (the student) with a thumbtack, she advised it was because she wanted him to ‘pay attention and do his work,’ and she wanted him to return the items he took off her classroom desk,” the affidavit said.
School District spokespersons did not immediately return an email seeking comment about the arrest or Danielsbishop’s job status Wednesday afternoon.
Danielsbishop was held in the North Broward Bureau as of Wednesday afternoon, Broward Sheriff’s Office inmate records show.
Her attorney information was not available.