SWCS Teacher’s Aide Charged With Spraying Child In Eyes

A teacher’s aide with the Southwestern Central School District has been charged for intentionally spraying a 5-year-old boy with cleaning solution.

Ellicott police on Monday charged Terry L. Kemp, of East Second Street, Jamestown, with endangering the welfare of a child. The misdemeanor stems from a March 20 incident in which police said Kemp sprayed the student while cleaning lunch tables at Southwestern Elementary School.

The child, who has not been identified, did not suffer any injuries, though a school nurse reportedly flushed his eyes with water. The nurse called the student’s mother, who then notified police.

Ellicott police Det. Brad Knight said school staff did not alert authorities of the incident. Because the school is on spring break, police were unable to talk to Kemp, 50, until this week.

“Thankfully the boy wasn’t hurt,” Knight said. “We had to determine what kind of solution was used and whether there were any chemicals in it or if it was just water.”

Police learned the cleaning product contained ammonia.

Maureen Donahue, Southwestern Central School District superintendent, had no comment when reached Tuesday. She said the incident was a personnel matter.

Knight, meanwhile, said Kemp told police she did not mean to harm the student when she sprayed him. The Jamestown resident said she was being “playful.”

“She said she was just joking around with the child and tried to get him wet,” Knight said. “Still, what she did was reckless toward the child; just really bad judgment.”

Kemp will be arraigned in Ellicott Court on April 9.