Belhaven Avenue School in Linwood

LINWOOD – A Belhaven Middle School teacher was charged with assault on a student Feb. 15 after her actions allegedly caused a 12-year-old boy to fall from a chair in the cafeteria and hit his head on the floor, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.

Longtime music teacher Kimberley M. Peschi, 40, of Galloway, was on lunch duty Feb. 9 when she used her leg to pull the chair of the student, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the floor, Tyner said in a press release emailed March 16.

Linwood Public Schools officials called police to the school the next day, and after an investigation Peschi was charged Feb. 15 with simple assault and cruelty and neglect of children.

She was suspended with pay while the investigation continues, according to Interim Superintendent Michelle Cappelluti.

Simple assault is considered a disorderly persons charge. The cruelty and neglect of children charge is a fourth-degree indictable charge. Peschi had a hearing in Linwood March 8, and the case is now under review by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

Anyone with information about the matter is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or the Linwood Police Department at 609-927-5252.