A now-former paraprofessional has been arrested after being charged with battering a five-year-old student by grabbing and pulling the child at Big Hollow School in Ingleside.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call on November 17 from the mother of a five-year-old girl who attended school in the Big Hollow School District.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that the mother had concerns about a physical interaction her daughter had with a district paraprofessional.
The mother was informed of the interaction by one of the district’s principals earlier in the day.
A sheriff’s detective assigned to the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center was notified of the incident and conducted an investigation.
The investigation revealed Monika Bruchert, 43, of Round Lake Beach, aggressively grabbed the five-year-old girl by the student’s arm while attempting to bring the child to a different classroom, Covelli said.
The child was sitting in her chair and apparently did not listen to verbal instructions to move to a different area, Covelli said.
When the child refused, Bruchert took the child by the arm and pulled it several times, Covelli said.
Covelli said the child then rested her head on her hands, leading Bruchert to forcefully lift the child’s head up by her chin several times.
Bruchert also pulled the child out of her chair by the child’s arm, Covelli said.
The investigation consisted of a forensic interview of the child, reviewing school district video surveillance, speaking to Bruchert and speaking to other witnesses.
The detective screened the case with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office on May 15 after the investigation was completed.
The state’s attorney’s office approved the charges of three counts of misdemeanor battery against Bruchert. An arrest warrant was obtained on May 26.
Covelli said that Big Hollow School District was fully cooperative during the investigation.
The school officials conducted their own internal investigation and ended their employment relationship with Bruchert.
Bruchert was arrested on the warrant earlier this month and appeared in court on June 3.
Prosecutors said Bruchert worked at the Primary School of Big Hollow School District.
Lake County Judge James Newman allowed Bruchert to be released on a personal recognizance bond.
She is scheduled to appear in court again on June 22 for a status of attorney hearing.