Trempealeau County D.A. files charges against coach who brought dry ice to practice

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

"He's done this demonstration with his class for 3 years but never with any unintended consequences," said Dr. David Grace, the District Administrator in the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau school district.

But in January, it was a different story when high school science teacher Brady Olson, who is also the middle school girls basketball coach, brought dry ice to practice.

A criminal complaint says he made a lid pop off a garbage can using the ice and made water shoot from a water bottle. He told the girls the dry ice was safe to handle and then asked if he could touch dry ice to them.

"Normally this demonstration is to show kids a cold substance," Dr. Grace said. "From what I understand, he normally puts it on her hand or back of the arm. I think this time he put it on their knees."

Some of the girls left practice with marks on their knee. The district, police department and sheriff's department launched an investigation and ultimately found no wrongdoing.

"We had a bunch of parents that said this thing is blown out of proportion," Dr. Grace said.

But within the past day, the school got a criminal complaint from the Trempealeau County D.A., wanting to charge Olson with both physical abuse and disorderly conduct.

"We were very shocked when we received a copy of the complaint," Dr. Grace said.

Dr. Grace says he cannot figure out why the D.A. wants to press charges after the school district and law enforcement found no wrongdoing.

"The Sheriff's Department had talked to everybody and they didn't say they had seen any criminal behavior," Dr. Grace said.

Dr. Grace says Olson is a good teacher and says it is the Constitution that will guide the situation.

"We have to follow the axim of our Constitution which is that individuals are innocent until proven guilty," Dr. Grace said.

We tried reaching District Attorney Jeri Marsolek as well as Brady Olson for comment but both attempts were unsuccessful.

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