Linwood middle school teacher Kimberley Peschi pleaded not guilty Wednesday in municipal court on charges of simple assault on a student in February.

The victim’s mother said she wants to be sure Peschi does not teach again.

No trial date was set.

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Peschi’s attorney, Robert Agre, said he is filing a motion to obtain records in the case, including a report from the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, which also investigated.

Judge Timothy Maguire gave Agre until May 1 to submit his motions, and then gave the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, represented by attorney Seth Levy, until May 24 to respond. Maguire said he would set a court date after reviewing the records.

Peschi, 40, of Galloway Township, declined comment after the hearing.

The 12-year-old boy’s mother, Michelle Tourigian, said after the hearing she does not want any plea agreement that would allow Peschi to take no blame. She said she hopes eventually a video of the Feb. 9 incident will be shown.

According to the police report, Peschi, a teacher at Belhaven Middle School, walked behind a student who was seated in a chair and used her left leg to pull the chair backward, causing the student to hit his head on the floor.

There were eyewitnesses and video, according to the police report. Peschi was charged Feb. 15 with cruelty and neglect of children and simple assault.

Peschi, who worked in the district since 1999, was suspended with pay.

At a special meeting April 12, the Linwood school board voted to file tenure charges with the state Department of Education to remove her from her position. Her suspension will continue, but without pay.

“The Board has a responsibility to the children that we feel was breached by Mrs. Peschi, enough so that she should not be a teacher in the district,” school board President Richard Sless wrote in an email.

Attorney Tom Reynolds, who was with the family, said the charges against Peschi have already been downgraded to a municipal level, and both sides have seen the video. He also said they want to be sure Peschi will not be allowed to continue teaching.

Contact:

609-272-7241 DDamico@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressDamico

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