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Appleton schools seek legal agreement to prevent lawsuit


APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - The Appleton School District will try to seek a legal agreement with the Disability Rights Wisconsin group.

The district hopes to avoid being sued after a former special education teacher allegedly abused at least five students.

Mary Berglund, 54,  resigned in March, after she was criminally charged with nine felony counts of physical abuse, and one count of strangulation-and-suffocation.

The Disability Rights group had demanded an apology from school officials, discipline against those who were aware of Berglund’s alleged actions, training for the young victims to deal with their trauma, monetary damages for the students, and a firm policy to prevent such incidents in the future.

Berglund is due in Outagamie County Circuit Court a week from Tuesday, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial.

The charges date back to 2009 when Berglund taught at the Janet Berry Elementary School in Appleton.

Prosecutors said she squeezed a nine-year-old boy’s neck and caused him to cry. And she allegedly pushed a boy’s head back by the throat as he tried to bite her. All five special-ed students were considered to be low-functioning or non-verbal.