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8 school workers on leave during abuse probe
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REDWOOD CITY  (AP) — Eight school district employees were placed on leave during an investigation of their handling of allegations that a special education teacher kicked and slapped students.

Alexia Bogdis, the special education teacher, is facing nine misdemeanor battery and child cruelty charges.

She is accused of slapping and kicking the stomach of one 4-year-old student, and twisting the wrist, kicking the chair and withholding food and drink from another student between December and January. Neither child was seriously injured.

The students were part of a special education preschool class at Roosevelt Elementary School in Northern California. At least one of them has autism, The San Mateo County Times reported.

The Redwood City School District is looking into whether the employees who handled the allegations followed procedure.

The employees' names and their positions were not disclosed. Calls to the district by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

"Our internal investigation raised questions for which we need answers in order to ensure the safety of our students, which is our top priority at all times," Superintendent Jan Christensen said Thursday in a prepared statement. "We need more information to determine exactly what happened."

The district said an aide reported the suspected abuse to a deputy superintendent on Feb. 1 and was instructed to call authorities.

Bogdis, 43, was placed on administrative leave that day and turned herself into police on Feb. 4. She is free on $15,000 bail. She did not immediately return a phone message left by the AP seeking comment.

Bogdis is scheduled to appear in San Mateo County Superior Court on March 1 for arraignment.