Tazewell County state's attorney won't charge Delavan teacher who tapped child on the head.
The Tazewell County State’s Attorney won’t file criminal charges against a Delavan teacher accused of hitting a child on the head, he said Wednesday.
But the child’s mom said she intends to file a civil suit immediately.
Kathy Hilst, mom of a Delavan Elementary School fifth-grader, said she saw teacher Kathleen Minick hit her daughter on her head on the last day of school. It wasn’t the first time Minick has hit her child, Hilst said.
Minick claims she didn’t hit the child; she said she was demonstrating a playful tap she sometimes does with the kids.
"We have determined there is insufficient evidence of any criminal intent therefore we are declining to file any criminal charges," State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz said Wednesday.
The district also did its own investigation that found Hilst’s claims without merit. Minick still works at the school.
Hilst said on June 8, she went to her daughter’s classroom to help her unload her desk. She had recently complained to the school about a previous incident in which her daughter said Minick hit her on the head.
Minick was not there but soon came back into the room and started yelling, Hilst said.
"She gets right up behind me and says to me ‘You’re right, I did hit Olivia in the head at the beginning of the year, and it was a joke.’ … (Then) she put her hand on top of Olivia’s head and smacked (her hand) extremely hard with the other hand," Hilst said last week.
Minick said Wednesday that she was trying to demonstrate the head tap so that Hilst could understand it was harmless.
"I put my hand on her head and I (tapped) my own hand. I showed Mrs. Hilst so she would be reassured nobody was hitting," Minick said.
Minick could have still gotten her point across without hitting her daughter, Hilst said.
Hilst wants Minick fired, and she won’t give up her fight anytime soon. On Monday, she spoke in front of the Delavan School Board.
"I believe (Minick) has lost her honor and her privileges to teach these kids by stepping out of her boundaries," Hilst said Wednesday.
Clare Jellick can be reached at (309) 686-3112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.