Show of Support for Amundson

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Aaron Amundson

This is just part of the standing room only crowd in the courtroom Wednesday afternoon, most of whom where there in a show of support for Bluff View Principal Aaron Amundson. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

 

Prairie du Chien staff, students show support for Amundson in court

By Ted Pennekamp

 

There was a standing room only crowd in the Crawford County Courtroom Wednesday afternoon, the vast majority of whom were teachers, administrators and students from the Prairie du Chien School District who were there in a big show of support for Bluff View Principal Aaron Amundson.

Amundson made his initial court appearance regarding the charge against him of physical abuse of a child. Amundson, 43, faces up to 3.5 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Lynn Rider said that a motion to dismiss the case had been filed on May 8 by Amundson’s attorney Corey Chirafisi. Richland County Assistant District Attorney Amy Forehand said she had not had time to review and motion.

Judge Rider set Amundson’s preliminary hearing and motion hearing to begin at 2:30 p.m. on May 31. Rider also set Amundson’s signature bond at $1,000. As a condition of bond, Amundson is not to have any direct contact with the victim, except the incidental contact that they will be in the same building when Amundson goes back to work. Amundson is still on non-disciplinary paid leave from the Prairie du Chien School District and it is not known when he will return to work.

Forehand asked for a $1,000 signature bond with a strict no-contact condition even though it would interfere with Amundson’s ability to begin his duties as principal again. 

“Even if he didn’t talk to the victim, his (Amundson’s) presence is intimidating,” said Forehand. “This is a 14-year-old boy, and Mr. Amundson is a figure of authority. The victim has a right not to feel intimidated.”

Chirafisi asked that the condition of bond be for incidental contact, and that Amundson and the victim be allowed to be in the Bluff View school building at the same time so Amundson could go back to work.

Rider approved of bond with a condition of incidental contact, but told Amundson that even if he said, “Hello” to the victim it would be a violation of bond. Rider said that there can’t be any in-person contact, nor contact by phone, Facebook, or any other such contact.

Amundson is charged with applying a chemical to the boy’s hand on March 21 in a janitor’s closet at Bluff View and scrubbing with a Scotch Brite pad in an effort to remove a profanity that had been written in permanent magic marker. The chemical resulted in a burn to the boy’s hand, according to the criminal complaint. 

On March 24, the boy was taken by his parents to the Crossing Rivers Health emergency room. A doctor at Crossing Rivers Health said it was a bad chemical burn, according to the complaint. 

Directly after Amundson’s initial appearance Wednesday afternoon, Prairie du Chien High School student Gavin Gillitzer said that he and several other students in attendance were there in a show of support for Amundson.

Teacher Cory Koenig also said the teachers were there to support Amundson.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Koenig.

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