A former Marquette Academy teacher was found not guilty Wednesday of committing batteries against grade school students.
Tammie Tieman, 47, Princeton, was charged with grabbing students by the arms, slapping some on their backs and kicking one student in his side as she sat behind him on a bleacher during an assembly March 15, 2017, at the Ottawa Catholic school. She was fired the same day.
Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia found Tieman not guilty, saying Tieman’s acts were to keep order, not inflict punishment. Raccuglia added the case was “difficult because of emotions.”
Tieman did not have a jury, instead opting to have Raccuglia decide guilt or innocence.
Raccuglia said she was bothered, as were parents and police, by marks Tieman’s hand left on the backs of some students, but nonetheless she found that under the law, Tieman’s actions did not rise to the level of crimes. Raccuglia also noted teachers are allowed some freedom in maintaining discipline.
Tieman’s attorney, Dan Bute, argued the acts were not criminal, but rather Tieman’s legitimate effort to keep a number of unruly students in line.
However, Prosecutor Jeremiah Adams contended it was over the line for Tieman to leave hand prints and marks on the students.
“We’re talking about a teacher who lost her cool and is taking it out on her students. They were malicious acts against students who were driving her nuts,” Adams said.
Raccuglia observed she believed the students, who were mostly fifth-graders, were honest in their testimony, but the value of their testimony was also limited by their immaturity. Raccuglia added some of them had “words put into their mouths.”