Elementary School Teacher Accused Of Biting Autistic Child, Arrested

Police arrested an elementary school teacher on the charge of injury to a child Tuesday after she allegedly bit a 4-year-old autistic boy.

Kirsten Joelle Barnett allegedly locked the 4-year-old child in a “restraining hold” and bit him close to his ear at Locust Early Childhood Center, according to a teacher’s aide and as reported by KTXS-TV. She was charged with the third-degree felony of injury to a child. If convicted, Barnett could spend two to 10 years in prison, according to Dallas News.

The autistic boy shouted “no!” and Barnett started to rub his cheek, according to KTAB-TV/KRBC-TV. The teacher’s aide and another school worker saw a “swollen bite mark” on the child’s cheek, according to police.

“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,” David Young, superintendent for Abilene ISD, told Dallas News. “She has subsequently resigned from the Abilene Independent School District.”

Barnett entered the Taylor County Detention Center this Tuesday, but was released upon posting $5,000 bond, as reported by Dallas News.

Young did not reply to a request for comment.

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