Man accused of assaulting children in elementary school appears in court

Ezy Turner said Stayton pushed him and he fell.
Ezy Turner said Stayton pushed him and he fell.
Michael Stayton (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)
Michael Stayton (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT/AP) - A parent accused of assaulting three children at a Caraway elementary school had his trial continued. 

According to the Craighead County Prosecutor's Office, 47-year-old Michael Stayton has his case continued to November 26 for a motions and plea hearing with a tentative trial date set for December 2.

Stayton, of Caraway, is charged with three counts of second degree battery, three counts of false imprisonment, and one count of first degree terroristic threatening after Caraway police say he attacked three third graders in a classroom on September 18, 2012.

Riverside Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Knight said Stayton was at the school because he had eaten lunch with his daughter.

Superintendent Knight said Stayton went into a classroom during the students' transition from lunch back to class to confront a student Stayton believed had mistreated his daughter.

Stayton prevented three students from leaving a classroom with the intention of targeting one of the students, and all three students were injured during the incident, according to police.

"What I've been told is that he felt like one of those children had been mean to his daughter, and began to chase him around the room. One kid was knocked over, another kid was kicked. This kid was caught and hands put around his throat, said Superintendent Knight.

The three students' individual witness statements to police detail Stayton's actions in the classroom. The students said:

  • Stayton grabbed one of the students by the neck and said, "What are you doing here? You should be in heaven."
  • Stayton told a student he was "so ugly he needed to take pain pills."
  • Stayton called the students' moms fat.
  • Stayton hit one of the students with a lunchbox.
  • Stayton blocked the classroom door so the students could not exit the room.
  • Stayton told one of the students he was going to stab him the next time he saw him.

"He finally got a hold of (student's name withheld) then he choked him, pulled him by the ears, and then he went after (student's name withheld) and kicked him in the leg," said nine-year-old Ezy Turner, one of the students who was in the class during the incident.

Turner said Stayton pushed him and he fell. Mary Turner, Ezy's mom, took him to a doctor who confirmed Ezy broke his arm in the fall.

Supt. Knight said administrators contacted parents once police interviewed the students about what happened, and is re-evaluating the protocol for allowing students and visitors in and out of the buildings, and is considering hiring a school resource officer.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring you any new details as soon as they become available.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.