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Parents Shocked By Assault Charges Against Teacher

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Susan Lee Burke
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SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJZ) — Half of the students in one Maryland first-grade classroom say their teacher punched and even choked them.

Gigi Barnett explains the investigation and what the school is doing about it.

Young elementary school students say their teacher abused them.

Susan Burke, 35, has been charged with abusing eight first-graders in December and a kindergartener in her class last year.  She is out on bail but did not speak to reporters.  Her Laurel home is surrounded by toys and trash. Neighbors say she snapped after a recent divorce.

Parents of kids claiming abuse initially thought the stories were exaggerated.

“I just thought there were better background checks for school teachers,” said one mother.

The nine victims tell investigators that the abuse happened at school during school hours.  They say their teacher would kick them, punch them and even choke them.

Online, Burke alluded to a recent rough time, saying, “The last two years have been a true test and I cannot thank my friends and family enough.”

Court records show she’s had financial trouble.  Now she’s out on $75,000 bond while police stay on the case.  Investigators are continuing to interview children and follow-up on leads.

The school district suspended the teacher as soon as the first allegation arose last month.  All of the victims are 6 or 7-years-old.

Burke will be back in court next month.

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