Toledo police are investigating a report by a 10-year-old Toledo Public Schools student that a substitute teacher inappropriately touched her.
Anthony Peterman, 64, of Toledo, was removed from Arlington Elementary School and taken off substitute duty Monday, after the student made a report to the school's principal. According to Toledo Public Schools, Mr. Peterman, who has subbed in the district since the 2008-2009 school year and also briefly between 1982 and 1983, was teaching a fifth-grade class at the time.
The student had left lunch and returned to Mr. Peterman's classroom Monday to finish homework when the alleged inappropriate conduct occurred, according to TPS. Arlington acting Principal Oatis Amick, Jr., wrote in an incident report that the girl said that Mr. Peterman asked to see her belt and asked if it was a picture of SpongeBob SquarePants.
The girl said her teacher grabbed her belt buckle, and when she tried to pull away, he would not at first let go. When he did let go, the girl said, Mr. Peterman's hand touched her "private area."
Another girl apparently witnessed the incident, according to the TPS report. Mr. Amick wrote that he called security and met with Mr. Peterman in the school's office. Mr. Peterman admitted touching the girl's belt, but said he had not touched the girl's private area. Mr. Amick then escorted him from the building.
After school, a student said Mr. Peterman had also taken a photograph of another fifth-grade girl.
In a brief phone interview today, Mr. Peterman denied the allegation, and questioned whether he was actually talking to a Blade reporter. He declined to answer most questions about his time at TPS, before hanging up the phone.
"I should probably not say anything," he said. "I would probably just get myself in trouble."
Officials with Lucas County Children Services were notified of the incident and are investigating, TPS officials said, and the district's security department also initiated an investigation.
The case was forwarded today to the Toledo Police Department, which is investigating. Because Mr. Peterman is a substitute, he wasn't formally placed on leave by the district, but won't be allowed to teach in a TPS school while the case is under investigation, district spokesman Patty Mazur said.
Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.