TX Teacher Charged With Biting Special Needs Student

.jpg photo of teacher accused of abusing special needs child
Kirsten Barnett, 25

Abilene teacher accused of biting student resigns

ABILENE, TX  –  An Abilene preschool teacher accused of biting a 4-year-old autistic student has resigned, the Abilene Independent School District said in a statement Wednesday.

Kirsten Barnett, 25, is charged with injury to a child, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

She was arrested and released from the Taylor County Jail on Tuesday on a $5,000 bond, according to jail records.

The school district placed Barnett on paid administrative leave Feb. 2, said Philip Ashby, AISD spokesman, in an email.  She remained on paid leave until she resigned April 7.

Barnett allegedly bit the 4-year-old student Feb. 1, while trying to move the student from the sand where the child was playing to the math area, according to court documents.

The student did not want to go and dropped to the floor, where Barnett reportedly pulled the child onto her lap and placed him in a restraining hold, court documents state.

The child began to squirm and push against Barnett, and then she bent down and bit the student on his cheek by his ear, according to court documents.  The child then yelled out.

A teacher’s aide who said she saw what happened saw the bite mark on the student’s face, court documents state.

Barnett worked at the Locust Early Childhood Center, according to a staff directory, until she resigned.

“When the allegations first came to the school’s attention, administrators acted swiftly to report the incident to the Abilene Police Department.  The teacher was immediately placed on leave during the course of the police investigation and has not returned to the classroom or interacted with students again,” the district said in a statement.  “The safety of our students is our top priority, and we are grateful for the immediate reporting by witnesses and for the cooperation from the Abilene Police Department.”

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