The school principle resigns over this issue but i bet Phoenix cop William Buividas will never be punished or fired for using excessive force in the incident!

Shackling of girl prompts resignation Principal made troubled girl take medicine

Lindsey Collom The Arizona Republic Dec. 13, 2005 12:00 AM

An elementary school principal has resigned amid allegations she and a school psychologist restrained a troubled 8-year-old and forced the child to take prescribed medication in front of her classmates.

Washington Elementary School District board members on Monday voted unanimously to accept Cherri Rifenburg's resignation. The board also met in executive session with legal counsel to discuss the fate of school psychologist Burke Bretzing, but no action was taken.

Rifenburg's lawyer, Kay Hunnicutt, said her client chose to resign to "provide stability" for faculty and staff at Lakeview Elementary School, which has been under scrutiny since the incident.

Authorities said it began Nov. 15 when a woman called 911 to say she could not control her daughter. Phoenix police Officer William Buividas, 22, responded to the woman's home and handcuffed the girl with her mother's permission.

Buividas then escorted the woman as she drove her child to school. There, Rifenburg and Bretzing allegedly assisted the officer in restraining the girl as her third-grade classmates watched. School administrators have acknowledged that the principal and psychologist forced the child to take prescribed medication.

Phoenix police are investigating whether Buividas used excessive force. He remains on patrol.

Rifenburg and Bretzing were placed on paid administrative leave; neither has been back to work since.

Roni Snell, whose daughter is a former Lakeview student, said the incident "disgusts the heck out of me."

"It breaks my heart that a kid can get treated like that. There's got to be someone to speak for that 8-year-old girl," Snell said. " . . . I've got a child in junior high. Is this going to happen while she's in school?"

District spokeswoman Karyn Morse said the girl has not returned to class, but officials hope to place her in another school "that is successful for her."

In a letter to the district's governing board president, Rifenburg said she would complete doctoral studies and plans to teach at the collegiate level. She will remain an employee until April 15 and serve in a capacity as determined by the superintendent. She will receive her full salary and benefits.

Hunnicutt said her client is saddened by the situation and plans to issue a statement today.

"She's hurt," Hunnicutt said. "She really cares about kids."

Reach the reporter at lindsey or (602) 444-8557.

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