2 school workers charged in student assault, coverup

READING, Pa. (WPVI) -- An employee of a therapeutic day school in Reading, Pa. has been charged in connection with the physical assault of a student while a second employee was charged with an alleged attempt to cover it up.

Ismael Seals, a behavioral specialist, and Teresa Bivens, a school instructor, were charged Tuesday by Berks County detectives.

Both are employees of the Paramount Academy, 1700 City Line Avenue, a school for students in grades six through 12 who require therapeutic needs that, officials said, "can't be efficiently provided for in a traditional education environment."

Investigators say the incident happened on the afternoon of April 24th.

The students were being loud, police said, and Seals allegedly ordered the students to be quiet. He also, according to police, threatened that the next person who spoke would get their "body slammed" through the door

A short time later, detectives said the 17-year-old victim asked, and was granted by Bivens, permission to sharpen his pencil.

As the student stood up, Seals allegedly ordered him to sit down.

Then, police say, Seals then grabbed the boy and slammed him multiple times against the classroom door, forced him into the hallway, swung the student head-first into a wall and pinned him to the floor.

During the investigation, police say Bivens told investigators the student was being disruptive. However, during a second interview, police say Bivens retracted her statement and confirmed what the student

Bivens allegedly told police she lied because she was prompted by "higher ups" to "clean up" the incident.

Seals, 34, of Philadelphia, was charged with aggravated and simple assault; unsworn falsification to authorities; tampering with/fabricate physical evidence; unsworn falsification to authorities; endangering the welfare of children; conspiracy to commit unsworn falsification to authorities; intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse case; and person required to report suspected child abuse.

Bivens, 27, of Coatesville, Chester County, surrendered Tuesday morning on charges of tampering with/fabricate physical evidence; unsworn falsification to authorities; tampering with public records or information; conspiracy to commit unsworn falsification to authorities; intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse case; and person required to report suspected child abuse.
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