A suburban middle school teacher was charged with battery Friday after an altercation in which authorities said she pulled a student’s earbuds out and threw an electronic device, striking the student in the face.
Sue Ellen Patkunas, of the 1200 block of North Lakeview Drive in Palatine, was charged with one count of misdemeanor simple battery, Palatine police said in a statement.
The 51-year-old French teacher was also placed on administrative leave from her position at Winston Campus Junior High School in Palatine as Community Consolidated School District 15 investigates the incident, Superintendent Scott Thompson said in an email to parents Friday. The Palatine Police Department and DCFS were also conducting separate investigations, Thompson said.
The incident took place Monday just after noon, according to Palatine police. The school’s resource officer was notified of a “disturbance” in a classroom, authorities said, and arrived to find that an altercation had occurred between Patkunas and a student after the student refused to remove earbuds.
As the verbal altercation escalated, Palatine police said Patkunas removed the earbuds by pulling on the cord, before throwing an electronic device in the student’s direction. The student was struck in the face by the device, officials said, but did not require medical attention.
Patkunas turned herself in on Friday, according to Palatine police, and was released after posting bond.
“The safety of our students is something we take very seriously,” Thompson’s note to parents read, adding, “While we understand that there may be questions regarding this incident, the District is unable to share more information due to confidentiality and privacy laws that govern student and personnel matters.”
Patkunas was scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 22 at the Cook County District 3 Courthouse in Rolling Meadows, according to Palatine police.