ABILENE, TX - UPDATE (4:47 p.m.): The following information has been obtained from Taylor County court documents.
A teacher's aide at Woodson Early Headstart School reported that on February 1, 2017, she was in a classroom when she saw the teacher, Kirsten Barnett, talking to one of the students. The four-year-old autistic child was playing in the sand, and Barnett was trying to get him to go to the math area to play a game.
The child did not want to go and dropped to the floor. Barnett pulled him into her lap and placed him into a restraining hold. He squirmed and pushed against Barnett, who then bent down and bit him on the face, by his ear.
The child yelled out, "No!" Barnett immediately began to rub his cheek.
The teacher's aide was able to look at the child's face and could see the swollen bite mark on his cheek. Another worker at the school looked at the child's face and cold also see the bite mark.
UPDATE: Doctor David Young, superintendent for Abilene ISD, has issued a statement regarding the arrest of Locust Early Childhood Center teacher:
“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. She has subsequently resigned from the Abilene Independent School District. 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.”
An Abilene Independent School District employee, 25-year-old Kirsten Joelle Barnett, was arrested on Tuesday, April 18 and charged with third-degree felony injury to a child.
The incident occurred on February 1, 2017 at Locust Early Childhood Center in Abilene.
Barnett has since been released from the Taylor County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
We have reached out to Abilene ISD for more information on this incident and have not heard back at this time.
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