Prairie Du Chein Principal Charged

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (KCRG-TV9) -- Officials charged a Prairie Du Chien principal with physical abuse of a child, which is a Class 1 Felony.

According to court documents, Aaron Amundson, principal of Bluff View Intermediate School, gave 14 year old student Talmadge Knight a chemical burn after using a chemical cleaner on the child's hand.

The document says Talmadge had two letters written on his hand in permanent marker that were inappropriate for school on Wednesday, March 21. When Amundson was made aware of this, he took the child to a janitor's closet, according to the criminal complaint.

According to investigators, Amundson attempted to get the marker off using water and a white Scotch Brite pad, but it did not work.

Then, according to the criminal complaint, Amundson used a chemical "gum cleaner" that he found in the janitor's closet. Amundson told investigators he sprayed the chemical once on Talmadge's hand and scrubbed with the pad, and then sprayed again and scrubbed some more. The marker then came off.

Investigators asked the janitor which chemical Amundson used, and they were told it was Murry Gum and Wax Remover. The janitor said Murry Gum and Wax Remover mostly consist of dry ice and would burn skin.

According to investigators, Talmadge said the incident made his hand burn.

Talmadge's mom Melody Cox said she didn't find out about the burn until that Friday evening, two days after it happened.

She says she took Talmadge to the emergency room on Saturday and then to the police department to report the incident.

Cox said she was furious.

“I was mad because I couldn’t be there to protect my kid," she said. "And all I could think of was, 'geez the kids are bullying, now the principals starting in?' How are we supposed to protect our kids from the people who are supposed to protect?"

Cox’s friend Kristine Rutherford said Amundson got physical with her daughter in March of 2009.

“He had dragged her down the hall that day and he would put her in the ISS room," she said. ISS means In School Suspension.

Rutherford says he scared her daughter so much she developed anxiety.

“Somebody’s got to do something. These people aren’t listening," Rutherford said.

In response to the chemical burn left on Talmadge's hand, the school placed Amundson on non-disciplinary paid leave. District Administrator Robert Smudde said he will remain on leave until the district completes its investigation.

Smudde had no comment on any past incidents involving Amundson because Smudde only joined the school district this school year.

Amundson did not answer his house door for comment on Thursday.

Cox and Rutherford hope the district takes action against Amundson.

“We’re not giving up this time until he’s gone. We’re not gonna watch another kid suffer," Rutherford said.

Cox said, "we’re done. We’re done playing. Too much has been said about this man. I’m done.”


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