The principal of a Prairie du Chien school is charged with felony child abuse after a filed complaint alleges he used a chemical cleaner and scrubbing pad to remove a swear word written on the child's hand.
Aaron G. Amundson, principal of Bluff View Intermediate School in Prairie du Chien, is charged with one count of Physical Abuse of a Child, a Class I felony punishable by not more than 3.5 years in prison.
The criminal complaint said that on March 21, the 14-year-old student said that another classmate wrote an obscenity on his hand. When the teacher saw it, they both went to Amundson's office. Amundson then took the boy to the janitor's closet, where after one unsuccessful attempt, sprayed a chemical cleaner on the boy's hand and scrubbed off the obscenity.
The boy told investigators that the chemical "...started to bubble on his skin and felt a burning sensation."
Three days later, the boy told his mother his hand was hurting. The boy's parents took the boy to a local emergency room where a doctor said the child had a bad chemical burn.
During an interview with investigators, Amundson said after trying water and a Scotch Brite pad, he looked around the janitor's closet and found a bottle labeled "gum remover", which he then sprayed on the boy's hand. Using the chemical a couple of times, along with the pad, he cleaned the boy's hand.
Amundson said he and the boy "had a decent conversation during the entire incident and that (the boy) did not seem bothered by it."
Investigators talked to the school janitor about the chemical, who said the gum remover consisted mostly of dry ice. The janitor said it would burn if it came into contact with skin according to the complaint.
Online court records show that Amundson is scheduled for his initial court appearance on May 9 in a Crawford County courtroom. Due to potential conflict of interest, the Richland County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.
On Monday, the Prairie du Chien School District issued a statement that said they had placed Amundson on non-disciplinary paid leave. They would not comment on the circumstances that led to the district's decision.
In 2015, Amundson served a five day suspension for calling a group of students idiots, and for allegedly making death threats, according to an investigation released by the school district.
KCRG and the Courier Press in Prairie du Chien assisted with this story.