Magisterial District Judge James R. Ferrier, in whose office the charges have been filed, has not yet scheduled Barnes’ preliminary hearing.
Blue Mountain School District Superintendent Robert L. Urzillo said Thursday that Barnes is on paid administrative leave.
“I was made aware of an alleged incident on March 14. In accordance with the recently adopted Educator Discipline Act, I notified the Office of Chief Counsel of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Schuylkill County District Attorney’s Office, the Orwigsburg Police Department and Children & Youth Services,” he said. “The Orwigsburg Police Department soon thereafter notified me that they were conducting an investigation.”
Orwigsburg police have alleged Barnes assaulted the 13-year-old student between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. March 14 during the family consumer science class she teaches.
In the Affidavit of Probable Cause, police said Barnes was teaching the sewing portion of the class when she handed out small plastic bottles containing needles for students to use to sew pillows.
Police said the student was sitting on a chair behind Barnes when she put one of the bottles on his chair between his legs.
“After placing the container between the legs of the juvenile, Barnes then slid her hand along the upper inner leg toward the groin area of the juvenile. At this point, Barnes then cupped her hand and grabbed the genital area of the juvenile and then pulled away in an upward motion,” the affidavit reads in part.
The boy, who “was shocked and scared,” walked to the other end of the room and stayed there the rest of the period, according to police. He reported the incident to school authorities during his lunch period, police said.
Five other students witnessed Barnes’ act, police said.
Urzillo said he acted quickly and as required under the state Educator Discipline Act.
“Once the police concluded their investigation and notified me that a warrant would be issued, (Barnes) was placed on administrative leave. Further action may be taken by the district as this case proceeds,” he said.