ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools detectives have cleared Grant Middle School principal Paul Roney of any inappropriate behavior after he was accused by a sixth grader of repeatedly slamming his head into a wall.
APS detectives interviewed a number students and staff, and closed the case without bringing any formal charges against Roney, who was never placed on leave.
The 12-year-old boy maintained that, on Dec. 13, he had an altercation on the school’s basketball court during lunch recess. He said he sought out Roney to report the incident and that the principal, who was speaking to other students about their discipline, became angry that he was being interrupted. The boy claimed the principal then pushed him four times into the wall, causing the boy’s head to hit the wall each time.
Further, the boy said the principal would not let him go to the school nurse’s office when he complained that his head hurt.
After school, the child’s mother took her son to the University of New Mexico Hospital and called APS police. According to the completed APS police report, investigators took photos at the hospital of the child’s head but could not see any visible injuries, including “discoloration, bruising or swelling.”
Days later, the family called KOB-TV, and the child and mother repeated the allegations on air. The mother also claimed during the TV interview that her child had a concussion and she was going to press charges. The completed APS report does not include corroborating medical information about the incident and the child’s mother did not return phone calls to the Journal.
The officers interviewed a student who said he saw the principal push the sixth grader into the wall once. They also interviewed one of the students who was being lectured about his behavior by Roney when the sixth grader entered Roney’s “personal space.” Roney, he said, pushed the sixth grader away with one arm and told him to wait on the other side of the hall, but he never saw Roney shove the child into the wall.
Assistant school principal Rebekah Floryance told investigators she saw the entire incident involving the sixth grader, who began mocking Roney after interrupting him. Roney, she said, spoke with his “dad” voice but there was never any physical violence directed against the student.
A teacher who had the sixth grader in her class following the alleged incident said the child never complained that his head hurt or asked to go the nurse’s office.