EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — An Excelsior Springs School District staff member has been placed on administrative leave as officials investigate abuse allegations.

The school district released the following statement to FOX4 on Wednesday afternoon:

“After learning from the news last night that the Clay County Sheriff’s Office had an open investigation into a staff member and confirming this to be the case with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office today, the district has placed the staff member on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation as is our protocol.”

The teacher was initially placed on leave for the alleged incident weeks ago, accused of restraining a 10-year-old student and also spraying the child with apple cider vinegar.

But the district said it investigated and determined the allegations were unsupported. The staff member returned to full duties, FOX4 reported Tuesday.

But the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said it’s still investigating. The agency is handling the investigation due to a conflict of interest in the Excelsior Springs Police Department.

“I am not aware of a school district closing an investigation before a criminal investigation is complete,” Sarah Boyd of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office told FOX4 on Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office said it has already interviewed more than a dozen witnesses.

“Whenever there’s a case of potential physical abuse of a child, particularly in a school setting, we take that very seriously,” Boyd previously said.

On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office released a statement that it is working with the Excelsior Springs School District to investigate the abuse reports.

But the agency’s investigation is “in addition to and separate from the school district’s internal investigation and an investigation by the Missouri Children’s Division,” the department said. “While the district determines whether their employees violated district policies, and the Children’s Division determines whether children are safe, the sheriff’s office investigation is focused on determining whether any criminal acts took place.”

The department said two parents from different families filed the initial complaints. Since then, parents of two other children have come forward as well.

FOX4 is not naming the teacher as no formal charges have been filed at this time.

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