Claremore Daily Progress

November 7, 2013

Verdigris Lower Elementary teacher charged for physical abuse of students

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter

VERDIGRIS — A Verdigris Lower Elementary teacher has been charged with nine misdemeanor counts of assault and battery on her students.

Veteran teacher April Beth Cohenour, 60, was charged by the District Attorney’s office Wednesday following a three-week investigation of the nine alleged victims who claimed they were handled roughly in class.

Cohenour, an art teacher, has taught in the Verdigris School District for 19 years. On Oct. 10, she was placed on paid administrative leave while police interviewed students and witnesses.

Verdigris Police Chief Investigator Darrin Hester said detectives discovered signs of minor injuries caused by forceful grabbing and possible shoving.

“Physically, the students are fine, but there may be some emotional factors that we still need to look at,” Hester said.

The Verdigris Police Department launched the investigation after a parent complained of marks she found on her child. One of the students told investigators that Cohenour became forceful with them after they lined up incorrectly in the classroom.

“Following accurate investigative guidelines, we determined that a case needed to be filed with the DA’s office,” said Hester.

Shortly after the DA filed charges Wednesday, Cohenour turned herself into the Rogers County Jail after admitting that she may have lost her temper with the students.

She has since made bond at $6,500. Cohenour’s court date is set for 2 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Rogers County Courthouse.