A St. Lucie County teacher was arrested Friday on two counts of child abuse, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.
Officials say 38-year-old Leah Merrique Germain, a teacher at Samuel Gaines Academy, grabbed a student by the arm and shoved him into the railing and onto the stairs when she saw the student sliding down the banister of the stairwell from a floor above her.
Sheriff Mascara said in a news release that a student who was nearby recorded the incident on his cell phone. Germain saw the student, grabbed him by the neck, shoved him into the ground and held him down with her body in an attempt to take the phone.
Merrique Germain was charged with two counts of cruelty toward a child and was booked into the St. Lucie County Jail on a $7,500 bond.
St. Lucie Public Schools issued the following statement:
St. Lucie Public Schools has been made aware that an employee has been arrested based on allegations of inappropriate force used with students. Matters such as this are treated with utmost concern; the teacher has been relieved of campus duties and reassigned away from students pending the results of the investigation.