Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation of California and Arizona
A middle school teacher accused of spraying three students in the face with aerosol room freshener has been cleared of criminal charges. The April 3 decision by the Imperial County, Calif., District Attorney's Office to drop the case did not satisfy the tribe. "We're extremely disappointed in the decision,'' said Larry Stidham, an attorney for the tribe. "It seems to say that there is an open invitation for teachers to abuse children.'' San Pasqual Middle School students Angela Livas, Sophia Aquilar and Samantha Jefferson, all 13, said when they complained about the smell of an air freshener during their science class March 8, their teacher sprayed them directly in the face with the substance. The girls later were treated at the Indian Health Service Hospital for nausea, welts on the face and asthma. Parent Anjanette Miller filed a complaint against the teacher with the Imperial County Sheriff's Office and later pressed charges against the teacher. The District Attorney's office in El Centro declined to say why it refused to prosecute the case. The San Pasqual District Interim Superintendent Al Owen confirmed last week that the district was taking disciplinary action against the teacher but wouldn't say what was being done.