LOGAN — An award-winning teacher in Cache County now faces a charge of child abuse for allegedly attacking up to five students.
Scott Daniel Meeker, 51, of Wellsville, was charged Friday in 1st District Court with child abuse, a second-degree felony; and four counts of assault, a class B misdemeanor.
Meeker, a seventh grade science teacher at Spring Creek Middle School, 350 W. 100 North in Providence, is accused of "snapping" or "losing his cool" on Wednesday as school was letting out and shoving or punching five students, according to the Cache County Sheriff's Office.
The incident started when a boy was walking down the hall and jumping to hit the top of the lockers.
"It was explained to me that this is called dunking, and is common at the middle school," according to a police affidavit.
Meeker was observed on school surveillance video coming out of his classroom and grabbing the collar of the boy's shirt, then pushing him across the hall, which caused the boy's head to slam into a wall, according to the affidavit.
The teacher then watched 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 toward 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.
One student was later treated and released at a local hospital for being punched in the back of the head twice, the affidavit states.
The students were treated for bruising and swelling, the sheriff's office stated.
Meeker, who has been with the district for 22 years, was immediately placed on leave pending the outcome of the criminal and an internal investigation.
Last year, Meeker was recognized as one of 13 teachers in the Cache County School District as part of the annual Hats Off awards program, recognizing teachers who connect with their students in the classroom.
"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," the school district said in a prepared statement.