Anchorage mother sentenced for assaulting fifth-grade teacher

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A judge sentenced an Anchorage mother to 90 days in jail for assaulting her daughter's teacher in front of a class of fifth-graders.

Prosecutors said Angel Carter in December walked into Bonnie Lucca's classroom at Taku Elementary School and grabbed Lucca after the teacher motioned for her to keep quiet. Carter then hit Lucca and smashed a telephone against her head.

Carter, 36, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of malicious destruction of property. She also was ordered not to contact teachers without written permission from prosecutors.

''To bring violence in the classroom to children is so horrible, so insidious and unforgivable that I think a serious jail sentence would be warranted,'' Alaska District Judge Peter Ashman told Carter, whose head remained bowed as he spoke.

Ashman accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Carter to three months in jail. If Carter stays out of trouble during a year of probation, the conviction will be cleared from her record, said municipal attorney Bill Greene.

Although the judge felt Carter's punishment should be more harsh, not accepting the agreement would mean returning the case to trial status. That would postpone an end to the case, he said, and would not be fair to Lucca or her students.

''In real terms, what they'll know is she'll get 90 days in jail, and maybe that's enough,'' Ashman said.

Carter has no prior record.

During the hearing, she apologized to Superintendent Carol Comeau, Lucca and Taku's principal, Karlyn Daenzer.

''I hope something positive can come out of something negative,'' she said, turning in her seat to look at them.

Students heard a videotaped apology from Carter in class on Thursday.

During the hearing, Lucca told the judge her version of events.

Earlier that week in December, Carter had approached Lucca, asking for daily progress reports on her daughter. Lucca refused, saying she only had time to do weekly reports. Substitute teachers for Lucca also told Lucca that Carter tried to intimidate them, and Taku's office staff said Carter had threatened to hurt Lucca.

Another teacher was leading the class Dec. 13 when Carter walked into the classroom with her daughter. Lucca said she motioned with her hand for Carter to stay silent, but the parent came face-to-face with her and started yelling. Then she grabbed Lucca and said they had to go in the hallway, Lucca said.

When Lucca resisted, Carter shoved her into a corner and started hitting her, the teacher said. Lucca yelled for help, and tried to use the telephone to call the police, but Carter ripped it off the wall and hit her with it, she said.

Carter's daughter was moved to another classroom after the incident.

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