Principal Accused of Pulling Girl's Hair

September 23, 2008 7:06:19 PM PDT
11 year old Jamie Ruiz said, "I was standing in line and she went like this and she pulled me over and I tried to move but she was holding me tight."Jamie admits being blindsided by what her Principal Mary Dougherty did and said to her last week as she was coming in from recess at Vinland Elementary in northeast Fresno. "She said I needed to change my hair and it was inappropriate and why I didn't do it earlier when she asked me to and that I was being defiant."

Jamie's grandmother says Principal Dougherty told Jamie to get rid of her red highlights the first week of school and explained what her mom was trying to do with her hair. "Those are blonde streaks she grew up with and her mother tried to dye over it so it could blend in with her hair but it turned red, it's not even that red."

Police say a teacher at Vinland saw what happened and gave police a word for word account of what little Jamie told them. On Monday police cited the principal for battery on a child. Fresno Unified released a statement saying "We are taking these allegations very seriously and are conducting an investigation at this time. We will continue to work closely with the Fresno Police Department."

Jeff Cardinale, a spokesman with Fresno Police said, "Anytime you have a school official, in this case a principal who is the leader of the school who is physically injuring a student, that's a very serious crime."

Jamie's grandmother promises to fight to have the principal fired or moved to a position where she's not working with children anymore. "I'm very angry about what she did. To put her hands on someone else's child like that, she took the law into her own hands. I don't think she should work at the school anymore."

Police say they did not arrest Mary Dougherty because battery on a child is a misdemeanor offense. Dougherty is scheduled to be in court November 19th. A retired principal is filling in at Vinland Elementary.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

abc30 News Links:
Links to other news sections on our website.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Breaking News Alerts:
Click Here to Sign-Up for Breaking News E-Mail Alerts
Receive Breaking News alerts in your email inbox.


Click Here to Sign-Up for Text Message Alerts
Receive Breaking News alerts right on your cell phone.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Load Comments