United School District obeys rule: Sends girl directly to hospital when nurse spots injuries
School and hospital officials followed mandated reporting procedures in the case of a 7-year-old Indiana County girl who police say was injured when her mother threw her to the floor and sat on her.
Rebecca Lynn Smith, 33, of Dilltown is charged with simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and harassment, state police said Tuesday.
Smith is accused of severely spraining her daughter's left wrist and causing a cut to her lip. The injuries were discovered last week by a school nurse for United Elementary School in Armagh. The nurse sent the girl to a hospital, state police said.
Evidence suggested that the girl had been physically abused for some time, police said.
Smith allegedly injured her daughter at 5 p.m. Thursday in a residence on Armerford Road in East Wheatfield.
Trooper John Matchik, spokesman for the Indiana barracks, said the girl complained of arm pain Friday at school. The school nurse examined the girl, who was taken by ambulance to Indiana Regional Medical Center in White, he said. Hospital personnel notified state police.
Matchik said the girl left her home on Thursday night to visit a nearby relative. Smith took her back home, where the two apparently argued, Matchik said.
“(Smith) became irate, grabbed her and threw her to the floor,” causing the lip laceration, he said. “We believe she then sat on top of the child, with the girl's hand pinned between her own body and the floor.”
United School District Superintendent Barbara Parkins said elementary school administrators handled the required reporting.
“We are mandated reporters,” she said.
State law requires various professionals — physicians, teachers, nurses, day-care workers and law enforcement officers — to report when they suspect a child under their care or supervision may be a victim of abuse.
Matchik said hospital personnel contacted police when the child arrived.
“Ultimately, it depends on the circumstances at hand,” he said. “In this case, the child was taken to a medical facility, and they contacted us with a case of substantial injury with suspected child abuse.”
The Child Protective Services Act requires mandated reporters to contact the Department of Public Welfare's ChildLine if they suspect abuse. The children and youth department in the child's county of residence is notified to investigate, according to the DPW website.
Matchik was not sure whether the girl was removed from her mother's custody.
Smith was arraigned on Friday before Blairsville District Judge Jennifer Rega and released from Indiana County Jail upon posting $10,000 bond. She faces a preliminary hearing on Wednesday before Rega.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Indiana County’s Grant Township will fight wastewater disposal well
- Indiana County township ‘afraid for the water’ fights waste well
- County approves contract for West Wheatfield water extension
- Carol Burnett to receive Indiana museum’s Harvey Award
- United board looks to replace departing French teacher
- Nashville band featuring Blairsville native returns for Knotweed Festival performance
- Activity buses are set to return at United School District
- West Market Street property owners oppose removal of Blairsville traffic signal
- Indiana County dad held for trial for sending kids out of house