Cops and Courts, Education, Latest News

Muniz reports to Magistrate Court

A now-retired vice principal who is at the center of a student assault case at North Elementary School, reported to Monongalia County Magistrate Court on Monday to answer a charge of battery.

Carol Muniz, who police say was observed on school surveillance video hitting a student with her fist, posted a personal recognizance bond of $5,000, according to court documents.

The incident occurred Jan. 26, when the student in question, an 8-year-old identified as having special needs, became unruly in his classroom.

Members of North’s Safety Care Team, which included Muniz, intervened.

As the student was being removed, actively resisting the whole time, Morgantown Police Detective R. Stallings, who viewed the video, noted the administrator’s reaction.

“Muniz responds to the student’s resistance,” he wrote, “by raising her hand, making a fist, and striking the student in the head.”

The vice principal, who last year had announced she was retiring at the end of the 2022-23 term, stepped away early in March, while still under administrative leave for the incident.

In the meantime, North’s principal Natalie Webb also remains on unpaid leave on a charge she failed to report said incident to the school district and other authorities in a timely manner.

Mon Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. and other officials didn’t learn of the events until Feb 12 – that was when another North teacher, not named in any reports, notified the district.

The district promptly notified police and Child Protective Services, as per state code, and Campbell’s next move, also under the mandates of code, was to place both the principal and vice principal on leave.

Webb, who appeared in court last week, posted bond and she said couldn’t discuss the case on the advice of her attorney.

Muniz has yet to respond to multiple requests via social media for comment. A home phone number given on the criminal complaint is listed as being disconnected or out of service.

Both remain under legal scrutiny, by way of tandem investigations through Morgantown PD, the local district, Child Protective Services and the state Department of Education.

Campbell said Monday the district will continue to cooperate with the investigation while respecting the due process rights of the parties who will now faced their charges in court.

January’s incident, in the meantime, puts a shadow over the school on Chestnut Ridge Road that has been long lauded for the academic prowess of its students, many of whom are bilingual and members of Morgantown’s international community.

Two other in-house investigations rattled down after Jan. 26, and both were in response to two incidents of aggressive behavior of staff in the same North classroom housing students on the autism spectrum.

A substitute teacher’s contract was terminated in the end result. Two other aides were also suspended and neither will return to North.

One aide has since retired and the other, after undergoing additional training, is being reassigned to another school.

The above teachable moment couldn’t be more critical, Campbell said, for the well-being of a student population more vulnerable than most – at North, he said, and across the district.

“If there’s anything good coming out this, it’s that we’re going to ramp up training for our aides,” he said last week.

“We have to do our due diligence,” the superintendent continued.

“So we can provide the best education, and the best educational experience, to all our kids.”

Muniz is a longtime educator who received national recognition for her work in the classroom as a physical science teacher.

TWEET @DominionPostWV