Bluff View principal charged with physical abuse of a child

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By Ted Pennekamp

Prairie du Chien Bluff View Intermediate School Principal Aaron Amundson was charged in Crawford County Circuit Court April 11 with one count of the physical abuse of a child.

Amundson, 43, faces up to 3.5 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, a Prairie du Chien police officer met with Dennis Knight, Melody Cox and their son on March 24. Knight wanted to speak to an officer regarding his son being assaulted in school, the complaint said. 

The son, 14, said that on March 21, a classmate wrote “FU” on the top of his hand. During the after hours program at school, a teacher took the son to Amundson’s office. Amundson took the son to the janitor’s closet and tried to get the permanent marker off by using water for about 30 seconds, the complaint said. Amundson then grabbed a chemical off of the shelf and sprayed it on the student’s hand a couple of times, the student said. The chemical started to bubble on his skin and he felt a burning sensation, the student said in the complaint.

The student said that Amundson also used something to scrub his hand and that it was made of rough material and it hurt a bit, according to the complaint. 

The student said he went back to the after hours program and his hand was burning. He said he showed it to two of his friends and they said it looked bad, according to the complaint.

The student told investigators that he did not make a deal over it and didn’t tell his dad because he was worried that his dad would get really mad and go to jail for doing something, according to the complaint. He told his mom three days later because his hand was hurting really bad. His mom told his dad and they decided to go to the emergency room. The doctor said it was a bad chemical burn, according to the complaint. 

The student told investigators that he had gone to the school nurse a couple of times on March 22 and March 23 because his hand was bothering him. He said the nurse put ointment on his hand. The student said he showed Amundson his hand and that Amundson just laughed and did not think it was a big deal, the complaint said. 

Amundson told an investigator and a social worker that a teacher had brought the student to his office because the student had “FU” written on his hand in permanent black marker, the complaint said.

Amundson said he took the student to the janitor’s closet and tried to get the marker off with water from a hose and a white Scotch Brite pad, but it didn’t work. He then looked at the bottles of chemicals on the shelf and saw one that said “gum remover” on it. He said he sprayed once and scrubbed with the pad and then sprayed it again and scrubbed. He said that it took the marker off, according to the complaint. 

Amundson said that he and the student had a decent conversation during the entire incident and that the student didn’t seem bothered by it. He then took the student back to the after hours program, the complaint said. 

Amundson said he saw the student in the nurse’s office and that the student showed him the wound. Amundson said he asked the nurse if it was alright. The nurse told the student to take care of it and not to pop the blister, according to the complaint. 

Amundson identified the chemical as Murry Gum and Wax Remover, the complaint said. The janitor told the investigator that Murry Gum and Wax Remover mostly consists of dry ice, and when it is sprayed on gum, it freezes so it is easier to scrape away. The janitor said that it would burn skin. The back of the can warns not to let it get in contact with skin, and if it does, to wash it off immediately.

While in the emergency room at Crossing Rivers Health on March 24, the student’s mother showed the police officer photos of her son’s hand. The bandage had just been put on, so the officer didn’t want the son to take it off. The photos showed a large red circle with a wound, according to the complaint. The officer asked the son to take a photo of the injury every time he changed the bandage because it would show the extent of the wound over time.

Amundson’s initial court appearance is scheduled for May 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Crawford County Circuit Court.

Amundson is on paid non-disciplinary leave pending an investigation by the Prairie du Chien School District.

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