A teacher’s assistant in central Florida found herself in legal trouble after allegedly slapping a student for not following instructions, leading to her arrest by Eustis police on November 29. Ute Galloway, 61, faces a felony charge of child abuse without great bodily harm, according to online jail records.
The incident, captured on surveillance cameras, reportedly occurred on November 17 at Eustis Middle School. Galloway was observed striking a 14-year-old student across the face while he was engaged in a drawing activity inside a classroom, as detailed in a police report cited by local news stations WESH, WOFL, and WFTV.
According to the report, Galloway became frustrated with the student, who was participating in a drawing game with classmates, over his use of an outline to draw a turkey, contrary to her instructions.
The student informed the police that, as he continued to reference the outline, Galloway “suddenly smacked him across the face.” Following the alleged incident, the teacher’s assistant reportedly apologized.
Despite assurances from the Lake County School District that they would address the situation, the school failed to follow up after the Thanksgiving break, and Galloway continued working. Frustrated by the lack of action, the student’s parents reached out to local police and pressed charges against Galloway.
In response to Galloway’s arrest, a spokesperson for the Lake County School District stated that she has been reassigned to a role with no student interaction while they conduct an investigation, following standard protocol.
Galloway was booked into the Lake County jail but has since been released on bond, as indicated by jail records. Her next court appearance is scheduled for December 27, and it remains unclear whether she has entered a plea or retained legal representation.