PROVIDENCE, Cache County — A Cache County middle school teacher was arrested Thursday for allegedly assaulting five students at his school, including one that he punched twice in the back of the head, according to police.
Scott D. Meeker, 51, of Wellsville, was booked into the Cache County Jail on Thursday for investigation of child abuse, aggravated assault and three counts of assault.
Meeker is a seventh grade science teacher at Spring Creek Middle School, 350 W. 100 North in Providence, according to the school's website.
The incident was first reported on Wednesday. Meeker was placed on administrative leave that same day pending the outcome of an internal investigation, according to a statement from the Cache County Sheriff's Office.
Later that night, deputies were called to a local hospital where "a student was being treated for an injury sustained in an alleged assault. It was determined that the juvenile receiving treatment was one of several victims in the alleged incident from the middle school," the sheriff's office stated.
Investigators interviewed several students and school staff members on Thursday and arrested Meeker following the interviews.
Cache County Sheriff's Lt. Doyle Peck said Thursday there were several more people to interview as part of the investigation. But from what detectives could determine, the assaults happened as school was letting out for the day, about 2 p.m., on Wednesday, he said.
One student was engaging in "horseplay" in a hallway area when Meeker "lost his cool" and lashed out at the student, striking him in the back of the head, Peck said. He then got involved with other students, including shoving one against a locker, according to Peck. School surveillance video was being reviewed as part of the investigation.
According to a police booking affidavit, the student being treated at the hospital was allegedly "punched in the head two times."
When an officer reviewed school surveillance video, he saw a boy "walk down the hall and jump up and hit the top of the lockers multiple times. It was explained to me that this is called dunking, and is common at the middle school," the affidavit states.
Meeker then came out of his classroom, is seen grabbing the collar of the boy's shirt, "pushes" him across the hall and "slams him into the wall causing him to hit his head," according to the affidavit.
In the video, the teacher then watches another group of students and "chases them down ... pushes multiple kids out of the way and grabs two other male juveniles by the back of the neck and pushes them towards a fourth male juvenile. Scott then throws two closed fist punches and strikes (the fourth student) in the head and causes goose eggs," the affidavit states. A fifth student was also pushed during this time.
The students were treated for bruising and swelling, the lieutenant said. The student being treated at the hospital was released the same day.
Meeker has been with the district for 22 years, according to the school district which also released a statement on Thursday.
"The Cache County School District absolutely does not tolerate the use of physical force of any kind by adults with children. Pending criminal charges and an internal investigation, appropriate actions will be taken in consequence of this incident. Every student should be able to attend school without concern for their safety and well-being, and with the knowledge that adults should be their strongest advocates."