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Private School Teacher Faces Child Abuse Charges

Private school teacher and longtime educator Miriam Anastacio has been charged with assault in the second degree and child abuse for allegedly “physically disciplining” her 7-year old 2nd grade student on Wed, May 4 in campus at Maris Stella School.

Anastacio, a retired public school educator allegedly “disciplined” the 7-year old girl multiple times with wooden rulers and yard sticks in her classroom filled with students until the school bell rang for the day.

Her discipline stemmed from an apparent lie the student told when she was asked who wrote a name in the classroom’s carpet reveals the child’s mother Charlotte Yala in a Facebook post on May 7.

Anastacio allegedly hit the 7-year old multiple times until the ruler broke into pieces. She then picked up another one and continued to strike the child, according to court records. The alleged abuse left a series of severe bruising and red marks all over the child’s torso, legs, arms, and even her face.

Outraged and heartbroken by the incident, the child’s mother took to Facebook sharing photographs of her child’s injuries and asking the public for help seeking justice on behalf of her daughter.

“Parents – I’m asking for your help,” she wrote. “Help me stand for this [sic]. Come out who been abuse [sic] by the teachers.”

Yala further pleaded to the public to “break your silence” on teacher to student abuse.

Her post sparked an online firestorm with more than 2,000 shares and hundreds of comments including from members of the Palau Congress.

Mother of the victim post a photo of her child's bruised arm on Facebook.

Senators Joel Toribiong and Sandra Pierantozzi each shared their comments and views of the situation through the mother’s viral post.

Sen. Toribiong who has since met with Yala and her 7-year old daughter said, “Palauan parents should join the mother in challenging the education system tolerating that kind of behavior towards students.” He further added it takes a community to raise a child.

Sen. Pierantozzi reminded the public that Maris Stella is a great school further encouraging people not to “be quick to blame the school because of one bad apple”.

Maris Stella School is a private catholic mission school, which means the Ministry of Education (MOE) cannot interfere, however Education Minister Sinton Soalablai told Pacific Note MOE is required to charter all private schools.

Because of the severity of the incident with a teacher being arrested and charged for alleged abuse, he will be meeting with board members of the school and Lorenza Olkeriil, the school’s principal today on what happened.

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