Arizona sixth-grade teacher resigns after student says she threatened to kill him

11:04 AM, Sep 27, 2013   |    comments
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BUCKEYE, Arizona (KPNX) -- A sixth-grade teacher in the Paradise Valley Unified School District has resigned after one of her students claimed she said, in apparent exasperation, that she would kill him.

Maureen Schardyn said her son's teacher at Liberty Elementary School became frustrated Tuesday with students talking in class before addressing her son.

"She got mad and said, 'Oh my God, I'm going to kill you. Do you want to be on the news -- 'Teacher kills student because she just can't take it any more'?' " Schardyn told 12 News.

Schardyn said she called the teacher and the teacher admitted to saying something along those lines. Schardyn said the teacher told her it was intended to be a funny joke and that she didn't mean it seriously.

Schardyn filed a police report nonetheless.

The teacher, Suzan Smelser, resigned Thursday afternoon.

Paradise Valley district officials sent a letter home to parents Thursday and confirmed that a Liberty Elementary School teacher had spoken "harshly and inappropriately" to one of her students.

"My understanding is that a teacher did make inappropriate comments," district spokeswoman Marty Macurak said. She said Smelser was placed on paid administrative leave while the district started an investigation immediately after the incident, which is standard procedure.

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