PALOMINAS — A substitute teacher working at Coronado Elementary School was arrested Friday night for aggravated assault following an alleged incident involving a student earlier in the day.
Walter Edward Benny III was taken into custody shortly before 9 p.m. Friday after an investigation by the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office into a report that a student was physically assaulted inside the school. It’s unclear who notified the sheriff’s office and when, although some students and staff purportedly witnessed the incident.
“Deputies arrived on scene and requested medical assistance for a 50-year-old male substitute teacher who was experiencing a medical issue,” Cochise County Sheriff spokeswoman Carol Capas said in a press release. “During the contact it was discovered that the teacher allegedly assaulted a 14-year-old boy in the class prior to having his medical issue.”
Details about the alleged assault had not been made available by Monday afternoon.
Benny, 50, was taken to Canyon Vista Medical Center for evaluation, after which he was arrested. He was released from jail Saturday on his own recognizance pending further court proceedings.
The Cochise County Attorney’s Office has until Wednesday morning to file formal charges with the Sierra Vista Justice Court.
The Arizona Department of Education website lists Benny as a certified substitute teacher fors Pre-K through 12th grade. He has no disciplinary history, according to the site.
Coronado is one of two K-8 schools in the Palominas School District. School officials issued a text message to parents at 3:45 p.m. which read: “We had an incident today involving law enforcement and a substitute teacher. All student (sic) are safe and the situation has been handled.”
The student’s mother, who is a nurse, said she was shocked this happened in her community. She isn’t being named by the Herald/Review to protect the student’s identity.
News of a possible assault at the school was posted by community members on social media Friday afternoon. Capas initially told the media the matter simply involved a teacher with a medical issue, but corrected that information on Saturday.