ST. LANDRY PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Two teachers at Washington Elementary School in St. Landry Parish have been arrested after reportedly bullying students, reports the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office.
According to Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, on February 24, the mother of an 11-year-old child at the school contacted the sheriff's office to file a complaint about a teacher bullying her child. The mother identified the teacher as Ann Marie Shelvin, 44, of Opelousas. The mother says she reported the bullying to the St. Landry Parish School Board after being advised to do so by the sheriff's office, but the bullying reportedly continued.
Officials say on April 5, the mother contacted the sheriff's office again, but this time to file charges. During the course of the investigation, officials discovered Shelvin reportedly intimidated and interfered in the operation of the school with three of her other students by threatening to fail them if they would not fight with one of their classmates. Officials say Shelvin also reportedly told the child being bullied to "go and kill yourself."
Detectives with St. Landry Parish interviewed a student involved in the incident, who reportedly said she was forced to bully the 11-year-old by Shelvin to start a fight with her classmates, which resulted in several students being sent to the principal's office. The student also reportedly admitted she was told if she wouldn't fight the 11-year-old child, Shelvin would refuse to help her with her work just like she refuses to help the 11-year-old. The student claimed she was scared she would be treated like the child and would fail the 7th grade.
Then on April 24, officials say the mother of the student involved in the bullying told detectives the situation had been going on since October of 2016., with her daughter being threatened by Shelvin to fight another student or she was going to fail her. The mother claimed Shelvin was escorted off school property and another teacher, identified as Tracy Gallow, 50, of Opelousas, took over the class.
The mother reported to officials that Gallow then began to pull, push, and yell at her daughter because the girl reportedly told the principal that her teacher, Shelvin, was making her and two of her other friends fight the 11-year-old child because Shelvin did not like her or her mother.
Detectives viewed surveillance footage from the school and say they saw Gallow, on two occasions, push the juvenile student on some bleachers to stop her from leaving the school's gym. Officials say during an interview with Gallow, she reportedly admitted to pushing the student on the bleachers because she felt she was too upset to start her testing.
"Students should not have to attend school and be bullied, especially by teachers that are there for their education, guidance, and safety. The parents did the right thing. They reported it to the school board and continued to monitor and talk to their children. The bullying continued and they took the next step by contacting law enforcement again," said Guidroz.