A teacher at an Abilene, Texas, preschool has resigned after being charged with biting a 4-year-old autistic student.
The Abilene Reporter-News reports that Kirsten Barnett, 25, faces a third-degree felony charge of injury to a child in connection with a Feb. 1 incident. The Abilene Independent School District said in a statement that Barnett has resigned. She was arrested on Tuesday and is free on a $5,000 bond, according to Taylor County jail records.
“When the allegations first came to the school’s attention, administrators acted swiftly to report the incident to the Abilene Police Department," the district said 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. 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.”
Barnett, who worked at the Locust Early Childhood Center, 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. The student resisted and dropped to the floor, where Barnett 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 allegedly bit the student on his cheek by his ear, according to court documents. The child then yelled out.
A teacher's aide who witnessed the incident saw the bite mark on the student's face, court documents state.
The school district placed Barnett on paid administrative leave Feb. 2. She resigned April 7.