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Teacher On Leave After Allegedly Pushing, Punching and Pulling Hair Out Of An 11-Yr-Old Black Girl

A longtime Madison, WI Metropolitan School District educator has been placed on leave and is under both school district and police investigation after allegedly pushing, punching and pulling hair out of the head of an African American 11-year-old girl at Whitehorse Middle School last week.

The girl’s mother, Mikiea Price, said she has seen security video of the February 13 incident, which she said shows Rob Mueller-Owens, 52, throwing her daughter to the ground and punching her before another teacher covers the girl with her own body to protect her.

“As a District we take any situation of this nature very seriously,” MMSD Representative Rachel Strauch-Nelson said in a statement. “All of our students need to be safe and supported in school, and we have a thorough investigation process and protocol that we follow. While we cannot talk about the details of a specific student or personnel situation, it is our responsibility to consider all of the facts of the situation and determine the right next steps.

“The staff person was put on leave while the situation was investigated. Based on that investigation, the staff person will not return to Whitehorse Middle School, and we are determining next steps. In addition, our team is coming together to create a full support plan to ensure that students are safe and fully supported at school.”

Mueller-Owens is the seventh educator to be caught up in racial incidents at Madison schools since November 1. Four teachers and two substitutes have been terminated or forced to resign after using racial slurs in class over the last three and a half months. Additionally, in Middleton, a school bus driver was terminated last fall for striking a black child and a high school teacher resigned after using a racial slur in class.

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Price, herself a substitute teacher in the district for the past five years, told Madison365 in an exclusive interview that her daughter, a sixth-grader at Whitehorse Middle School, called her last Wednesday and was clearly upset.

“She was just like … crying and extremely upset,” Price said. “I could tell, like by the way she was crying and talking, that something traumatic had just happened.” She said her daughter told her, “Mr. Rob hurt me,” referring to Mueller-Owens.

Price said she immediately went to the school where three adults were speaking with her daughter about what had happened.

“She was crying and her lip was cracked, bleeding, and she handed me three of her braids that were pulled out from her scalp,” Price said.

Price said a classroom teacher had called on Mueller-Owens, who is dean of students and was acting principal that day, because Price’s daughter and another student had sprayed too much perfume or body spray on themselves and each other. When Mueller-Owens asked the girl to leave the room, she initially refused, and things apparently escalated.

“When he came in, he asked (my daughter) to step out and she didn’t listen, and didn’t step out and as he walked toward her, she said she went toward the window and just wasn’t following direction, and he told her in front of the whole class, to the teacher, ‘Take the class somewhere else,’” Price said. “And (my daughter) said, ‘No, that’s fine. They can stay, I’ll go.’ And as she was heading out, she said he pushed (her) with two hands trying to push her out the classroom, and she turned around and said, ‘Don’t put your hands on me.’ And he pushed her again … and she said he started punching her.”

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She said the video, which she reviewed on Friday along with her mother, as well as Pastor Marcus Allen of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Urban League of Greater Madison CEO Ruben Anthony, did not capture what happened in the classroom but does show what happened in the hallway.

“I didn’t see the punching but on the actual video that I was able to review on Friday from the school district, I did see him throwing her down,” Price said. “And you see another teacher that I also spoke with that said that she had to lay on top of (my daughter) to prevent her from getting hit or punched.”

Strauch-Nelson said the school district intends to release the video later this week, after police conclude their investigation.

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21 comments

Ron Mack February 21, 2019 at 5:37 pm

gonna MAKE AMERICA GREAT (WHITE) AGAIN. His lucky she is NOT my duaghter

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Henry February 22, 2019 at 4:24 pm

If you knew this man at all you would know this was not about race. It is about how a teacher handled an unruly student PERIOD.

Not gonna say whether he was right or wrong, but do know he is amongst the least racist person I know.

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Gale February 23, 2019 at 12:18 am

He has no right toput his hand on a child period. He pulled her hair out. If the a child attacked him you would be saying something different.

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Clara February 23, 2019 at 10:22 am

Let me explain how this was racist: He would NOT have done it to a WHITE CHILD, especially a GIRL! Go take a nap or something to clear your head of your foolishness!

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Henry February 27, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Clara,

You ASSUME he would.have treated a white girl differently because you dont know the man and you are looking for racism.

I know the man. He has dedicated his career to helping others understand cultural diversity and has always stood up for and with the black community. This man is being incorrectly labeled and in doing so the black community may just isolate others that want to stand up and make a difference.

This man is closer to being a white apologist than he is a racist. While I dont know what happened that day I am 100% certain he did not treat that student any differently than he would have treated anyone else. Im also certain no punches were thrown.

You are choosing to believe an 11 year old with no respect for authority over a distinguished professional that has dedicated his life to helping minorities.

And if my 10 year old daughter refuses to listen to a teacher or principal when asked to leave a classroom, they have my permission to grab my daughter by the arm and escort her out of the classroom. How do you suggest an unruly student should be removed from a classroom?

The problem in this situation is obvious. The girl was obviously never taught to respect authority. She was never taught about being held accountable. She was taught how to flip the script and play the victim instead of taking responsibility.

It is not always about race, and this case is an excellent example.

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Dee March 15, 2019 at 7:18 pm

What exactly is a “white apologist”? Anybody who thinks that a grown man two hand shoving an 11 year old girl is appropriate in any circumstance is as sick as he is! The very idea that black people need some kind of “white savior” to “stand up” or advocate for us is as racist as it is repugnant. I am more than positive that this man has encountered an unruly or recaltrant white student before. The fact that he was still working until he attacked an 11 year old black girl, it testimony to the fact he has not nor would he ever treat a white child in this fashion. This man attacked a little girl so viscously that another adult had to shield her from his wrath and you have the gall to attempt to justify this by a little girl saying no? This animal pulled her braids out from to root, because she didn’t “respect his authority” and you think that is okay? Disgusting!

Eileen February 26, 2019 at 5:35 am

If this pig doesn’t get fired and do jail time for assaulting a child then justice will not have been served. Real tough guy, attacking and traumatizing an 11 year old child…unpardonable coward.

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Henry February 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm

No one was attacked.

Quit believing everything the race baiting media tells you.

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Kia February 21, 2019 at 7:11 pm

He’s on leave like police officers that kill unarmed black folk? That’s interesting because kids get suspenddd immediately when written up, but there has to be an investigation when teachers are the offenders. Interesting. My foot would be shoved all the way up his rass until Jesus returns and we know not the day.😒

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Kim February 22, 2019 at 10:28 am

Why wasn’t that MONSTER arrested??!?!?!???!?!? These people are clearly out of control. Where does this type of rage stem from ….. how many other children has that bulldog assaulted and abused???!?! LOCK HIM UP!!!

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Henry February 22, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Anybody think maybe the kid was out of control? i have never refused to do anything that my teacher or principal asked of me. And if i would have, the least of my worries would have been what would happen to me at school because it would have been 10x worse at home.

Gonna bet many of these accusations are way overblown. We gonna believe an 11 year old with no respect for authority over a professional.

This man is one of the mosr compassionate teachers I have ever known. We are on complwte opposite ends of the political spectrum, but i have no doubt he is a good man. He always sided with minorities and was na firm believer in white privilege, one of the many areas we did not see eye to eye on.

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Jan McGhee February 22, 2019 at 6:23 pm

You are out of your fucked up mind. A 52 yo male, punched, hit and threw down an 11 yo girl. If it was your daughter you would have beat him down, I don’t care how mouthy, if that, she was, a man better not hit my daughter.

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Henry February 22, 2019 at 6:34 pm

Not defending him or the girl. Fact is weve only heard 1 side of the story and it was from an unruly 11 year old. I know my 10 year old exaggerates.

None of us know what really happened. What I do know is this was not racially motivated.

If he did punch, hit, or throw down any student of any race, his career should be over and charges should be pressed, but this is not a race issue.

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Henry February 22, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Instead of believing everything you read on every race baiting website do some research and et the facts come out.

Those that watched the video says he slipped and fell on top of the girl. No punching or hitting was observed on video.

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Special Needs Momand teacher February 25, 2019 at 5:00 am

Exactly! He was the PROFESSIONAL ADULT. MORE & BETTER is expected. Where was his compassion, training and common sense during the ASSAULT? His actions revealed what lies beneath. He failed PERIOD. Rationalizing a violent act like this, against a child mind you, is indefensible and despicable! Shame on him and shame on you!

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Dee March 15, 2019 at 7:23 pm

They. Have. A. Video. Plus another teacher who has to physically shield her from his attack. Yes I believe the 11 y.o., the video, and the other adult. This child was bleeding from the mouth, and had whole braids pulled out from the root and you think there was anything she could do that would justify a grown man leaving those kinds of injuries on her? If you do you are as sick as he is.

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Henry February 22, 2019 at 3:52 pm

Dont knpw the facts, not defending Mr. Owens in anyway. I will say this, he has always stood up for minorities and in fact told me i was not aware of my white priviledge and that was a problem. In fact he removed me from his friends list.

His actions may very well have crossed the line, but I know for a fact, race had nothing to do with it in this case. While we often disagreed on politics, i know for a fact that this man does not have a racist bone in his body. He has always shown compassion for everyone and especially took up causes for minorities.

This is simply about how a teacher interacted with a student, and i know race was not a factor.

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Clara February 23, 2019 at 10:58 am

Henry, why the heck are you so adamant in your denial? You are the same one who denies the reality of white privilege!

HINT: You are exercising it right now, talking over everybody, taking over the conversation with your own version of what happened, and generally acting like you are the smartest one in the room.

NEWSFLASH: You are NOT!

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Henry February 27, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Blacks persecuting this man is the equivalent of someone shooting themself in the foot.

He is in your corner. He has been fighting for you. if you are determined to look for racism, look elsewhere, it aint here.

This man’s character is solid.

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DanielShirou February 23, 2019 at 12:11 am

please arrest him, that scum make me feel disgusting

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Jeff February 23, 2019 at 11:51 pm

It’s sad that people like this actually exist in our society. You can clearly see that this was more than insubordination. Any adult that cant control themselves shouldn’t be allowed around anyone’s children. Pulling hair out of her head was a “grave yard” move. The only reason why this teacher is still alive is because he picked the “right child” to bully. Sure today’s children are different but not so different to where we should abuse them. Just quit and find another job before you get yourself into “hot water”. We all have “free will”

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