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No Trial for Nail-Cutting Teacher

March 7, 1998

YORKTOWN, Va. (AP) _ A teacher won’t be tried for cutting a 9-year-old pupil’s fingernails without permission from the girl’s parents.

A judge dropped an assault charge against Carol Comstock on Friday after a prosecutor said there wasn’t enough evidence to bring the case to trial, defense attorney James Elliott said.

Mrs. Comstock clipped the fingernails of Savanna Merrill on Feb. 27 at Mount Vernon Elementary School. The nails were not overly long, but Mrs. Comstock felt the girl was distracted by their condition, Elliott said.

``She was constantly working on her nails, cleaning the nails ... in class and was inattentive,″ Elliott said.

Savanna’s mother, Rita Merrill, complained to the sheriff’s office, which referred her to a magistrate, who issued the charge.

``This is good news. It’s been a long week for her,″ Elliott said of the teacher. ``You never expect to do something out of your good nature and have it blow up like this.″

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