A special education teacher accused of abusing two young students at an elementary school in Redwood City pleaded not guilty Thursday to five counts of child cruelty and four counts of battery on school grounds, prosecutors said.
Alexia Alika Bogdis, 43, a teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School, allegedly slapped a student, twisting a student's wrist and kicking the back of a chair, causing the desk to move forward and strike a student, according to police.
Bogdis, a Millbrae resident, is also accused of depriving a child of food and kicking a child in the stomach, police said.
The students in question were two 4-year-old autistic boys, according to police and prosecutors.
Bogdis, who was arrested on Feb. 4, pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to the charges, which are all misdemeanors. She was ordered by Judge Jonathan Karesh to have no contact with either victim, to stay away from
Roosevelt Elementary, and to have no contact with minors, prosecutors said.
Bogdis has been placed on paid administrative leave along with six other employees with the Redwood City School District after the allegations came to light when they were reported by an instructional aide on Feb. 1.
Eight employees were initially put on leave, but in a letter to parents in the district, Superintendent Jan Christensen later wrote that a review of the case indicates "six people knew of possible abuse and did not meet their legal obligation to report it."
Christensen wrote, "As a result, the district will proceed with appropriate disciplinary action for these employees," who do not include the Roosevelt principal or any teachers, nor any staff member at the Child Development Center, a preschool housed at Roosevelt.
Bogdis, who is out of custody after posting $15,000 bail on Feb. 4, will return to court on May 3 for a pretrial conference and to set a trial date.