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Teacher arrested after hitting 4-year-old student who has autism

The Florida educator, who teaches students with disabilities, was charged with child abuse over two incidents.
Teacher arrested after hitting 4-year-old student who has autism
Posted at 9:40 AM, Sep 12, 2023

A Florida teacher was arrested after hitting a 4-year-old student who has autism twice at school, according to reports.

The school district said 48-year-old Stacy Strnad is suspended from her job at River Elementary School in Edgewater pending an investigation, according to local station WESH 2.

Edgewater police charged Strnad with child abuse.

The teacher is part of the "exceptional student education" program, which is for students who may have a disability, according to a police report obtained by the Miami Herald.

The report said the teacher hit the 4-year-old boy on the arm when he didn't do as told. In another incident, she pushed him "forcefully" against the wall in a time out when he tried to run away.

Staff members told police that they "could not believe what they observed," according to the report. They claimed this was not a one-off, stating that Strnad had also been aggressive with other students who have autism or are nonverbal.

Staff members told officers that the teacher would pull students roughly and hit their hands.

While Strnad was placed on leave, Volusia County Schools released a statement.

"Volusia County Schools has followed all protocols in immediately responding to this incident, and we are fully cooperating with law enforcement as they investigate this matter," said the statement obtained by WESH 2. "VCS takes any behavior that jeopardizes the safety of our students and trust of our parents very seriously."

"We will continue to strive to foster a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Any such behavior that does not align with these standards will not be tolerated," the statement continued.

The boy's father and Department of Children and Families have been made aware of the situation, according to the Miami Herald.

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