Eight employees at a Redwood City elementary school were placed on administrative leave Thursday following an internal investigation of allegations that a special education teacher abused two young students, according to school district officials.
The Redwood City School District launched the internal investigation after the arrest last week of Alexia Aliki Bogdis, a teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School.
Investigators believe Bogdis, a 44-year-old Millbrae resident, slapped a student, twisted a student's wrist and kicked the back of a chair, causing the desk to move forward and strike a student. She is also accused of depriving a child of food and kicking a child in the stomach.
Police said the students in question were two 4-year-old boys and that the alleged crimes occurred over the past few months.
The school district moved on Thursday to place eight other employees on leave due to concerns over whether they followed proper procedures. An independent investigation will be conducted, district officials said.
"Our internal investigation raised questions for which we need answers in order to ensure the safety of our students, which is our top priority at all times," said Superintendent Jan Christensen. "We need more information to determine exactly what happened."
Christensen said the alleged incidents first came to the district's attention on Feb. 1 when an instructional aide contacted Deputy Superintendent John Baker. Baker told the aide to contact child protective services immediately, and that agency in turn told the aide to contact Redwood City police.
The district placed Bogdis on administrative leave the same day officials learned of the allegations. Police obtained an arrest warrant for Bogdis on Feb. 3.
Bogdis surrendered to police last Saturday and has been charged with five counts of child cruelty and four counts of battery on school grounds, according to prosecutors. She has since been released on $15,000 bail and is expected to enter a plea in San Mateo County Superior Court on March 1.
Christensen said that if any allegations of physical abuse are verified, she will recommend to the school board that the employee be terminated.