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Granger Elementary School assistant principal charged with slapping student

WEST VALLEY CITY — An assistant principal at Granger Elementary School has been charged with misdemeanor child abuse and placed on leave by the district after allegedly slapping a fifth-grade student.

On Jan. 12, Granger Elementary assistant principal Rosselis Cabanillas, 58, slapped an 11-year-old student "across the face, leaving a red mark on his skin," according to charges filed in 3rd District Court. The incident allegedly occurred inside the school at 1950 W. 3700 South.

Right after the incident, Cabanillas told a teacher who witnessed it, "You didn't see that. It didn't happen," the charges state. Before the teacher returned to her classroom, Cabanillas allegedly said, "Really, don't tell anyone what happened."

The student's mother, however, called Granite School District police later that day and Cabanillas was placed on suspension from the school almost immediately while the allegation was investigated, said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. Cabanillas was an assistant principal at two schools, however, and was allowed to continue her duties at the other school.

Cabanillas was charged Friday with child abuse, a class A misdemeanor, and witness tampering, a third degree felony. Once the full allegations came to light, Horsley said, she was placed on full administrative leave and suspended from both schools.

Horsley did not know Wednesday what prompted the slap.

"Any sort of physical contact with students in this type of manner, which appears to be somewhat disciplinary or reactive, is very inappropriate," he said.

Cabanillas was issued a summons to appear in court April 5. She was ordered to be booked and immediately released from the Salt Lake County Jail prior to her appearance.

The district may take further disciplinary action, if needed, after the criminal proceedings are over, Horsley said.

e-mail: preavy@desnews.com