Former Abilene Educator Post Bail After Biting Autistic StudentPress Release
ABILENE, TEXAS -- A former Abilene ISD teacher has been accused of biting a 4-year-old autistic student.
Kirsten Joelle Barnett, 25, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with injury of a child, a third-degree felony, according to KTXS.com.
Police told local news outlets, a teacher's aid at Locust Early Childhood Center reported that on February 1, she saw Barnett put the four-year-old in a "restraining hold" and bite the child on the face near the ear. The biting allegedly occurred after the child refused to follow Barnett's instructions.
The teacher’s aid and another employee both reported seeing a “swollen bite mark on [the child's] cheek,” a police report read.
"When the allegations first came to the school’s attention, administrators acted swiftly to report the incident to the Abilene Police Department," said Abilene ISD's Superintendent David Young, in a statement. "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, and [Barnett] has subsequently resigned from the Abilene Independent School District," Young added, "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.”
Update: (April 21, 11:00 a.m.)
Kirsten Barnett, 25, was arrested on an Injury to a child charge Tuesday, and was released from the Taylor County Jail after posting a $5,000 bound, the Big Country Homepage reported.
Court documents say a teacher's aid saw Barnett restrain the autistic child, age 4, in her lap after he refused to follow her commands. The documents went on to read that the aid told police that the child had been "squirming and pushing" against Barnett, so she "bent down and bit the [the child] on the face and ear."
The child yelled "no!" then Barnett, "immediately began to rub his cheek."
The document further stated that another worker was able to see a visible bite mark on the child's face.
This is a developing story, Live! will update when more information becomes available.