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Attack Allegation

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Former School District Employee Claims Attack Left Her Legally Blind

By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    A 10-year Glenwood Community School District employee resigned from her teaching position last month, citing injuries relating to an incident that occurred on the job last February.
    Janene K. Owens, a special education teacher in Glenwood since 2000, submitted her letter of resignation to the Glenwood Board of Directors on Oct. 5, 2010, and it was accepted by the board on Oct. 11.
    Owens’ letter, addressed To Whom it May Concern, says in part, she was unable to continue teaching following what she called an “attack” by a student on Feb. 4, 2010. That incident, Owens’ letter goes on to explain, left her “legally blind, unable to walk without assistance, and unable to defend myself from the students that I taught.”
    Glenwood Superintendent Devin Embray, in an e-mail response to questions concerning Owens and the alleged attack, disputes Owens’ account of the incident but does not deny an incident between Owens and a student did occur.
    “The district regrets that an incident occurred between Ms. Owens and a student,” Embray said in the e-mail. “However, due to privacy constraints the district is limited in what it can say about this particular incident. The district strongly disputes Ms. Owens’ characterization of the nature and seriousness of the incident and the allegation that certain ‘medical difficulties’ experienced by Ms. Owens stem from the incident.”
    Embray went on to say, “The district previously reviewed this incident as part of its process of regularly evaluating measures in place to safeguard students and staff. The district has concluded that the measures it currently has in place are consistent with those in place in other school districts  and does protect students and staff members.”
    Embray declined to elaborate on the specifics of the district’s investigation or to provide a copy of the findings to The Opinion-Tribune, citing privacy laws.
    On Feb. 5, 2010, the Mills County Communications Center received a call from the Glenwood Middle School at 1:51 p.m. classified as a “mental case.”
    The Glenwood Police Department’s report of the incident details a call from the school nurse at the middle school about a teenage Glenwood Resource Center client that was “out of control, refusing to go with GRC staff. Principal wants them gone. Rescue not needed.”
    Glenwood Police arrived on the scene approximately two minutes after the call. Less than three minutes later, officers cleared the scene. The report indicated no arrests were made nor were injuries reported.
    Owens could not be reached for comment.