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Rome elementary school teacher, TA face charges for 'excessive discipline'

Ashley Rasbach, 30, and Maria Fountain, 47. (Oneida County Sheriff's Office)

Deputies say a teacher and a teacher's aid face charges after an investigation into a report of "excessive discipline" at an elementary school.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says the alleged "excessive discipline" happened at John E. Joy Elementary School on Bielby Road. Deputies did not say what the alleged discipline was.

As a result of the investigation, a teacher and a teacher's assistant were each arrested on Wednesday, the sheriff's office said.

Ashley Rasbach, 30, of Rome faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment. Maria Fountain, 47, of Rome faces a charge of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment.

Both were released and are due back in court at a later date, the sheriff's office said.

In a statement Wednesday, Superintendent Peter C. Blake said the district "has cooperated with and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and any other agencies that may become involved in the case." Blake also says the two employees are currently on leave.

Here is the full statement:

The District has been advised that, on June 20, 2018, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department arrested District staff members, Ashley Rasbach and Maria Fountain, as a result of an incident allegedly occurring at John E. Joy Elementary School. Ms. Rasbach was charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Harassment in the Second Degree; while Ms. Fountain was charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Harassment in the Second Degree. Both are expected to appear in Rome City Court at a date and time that is unknown to the District at this time. The District has cooperated with and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and any other agencies that may become involved in the case.

As we understand it, the charges, while not condoned by the District and are serious in nature, are merely accusations at this point and both women, like all citizens, are presumed innocent of any criminal offense unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. We intend to take all steps necessary to respect Ms. Rasbach’s and Ms. Fountain’s rights while, at the same time, taking all prudent steps to ensure the welfare and safety of our students.

We understand that the criminal investigation is still ongoing and that the Oneida County Sheriff’s department has taken the lead on the investigation. Both employees are currently on leave from their respective positions. Because this is a confidential personnel matter, we cannot comment further on the case.
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