A teacher at a Jersey school has denied two charges of common assault on a four-year-old autistic boy.
In the third day of the trial, the Magistrate’s Court today heard more evidence in the case against a teacher, who is accused of committing both assaults on the boy on the same day, February 9.
It is alleged the teacher, who has been suspended from work pending the outcome of the trial, wiped the child’s own saliva over his face and kicked his legs during a cooking session in which pancakes were being made on Shrove Tuesday.
The defendant and school have not been named for legal reasons in order to protect the identity of the child.
Police Legal Advisor Jan Brewer said the charges concerned the “unlawful use of force so that assaults were committed.”
A witness, who works with the boy as his educational pyschologist, was asked whether she could envisage a scenario whereby a teacher would wipe saliva onto a child’s face.
She replied: “Not from behind. I don’t know any reasoning where that would be helpful in terms of his sensory needs.”
The expert did say that children with autism can be “tricky” when it comes to discipline and introducing them to new environments.
She said: “Sometimes children’s first reactions might be a negative one. I would try to entice them with things they have done before and use positive language.”
Another witness, whose statement was read out to the court, said she was present, looking after another child, when the alleged assault took place.
Miss Brewer read out her statement, saying: “I have never seen a pupil being treated in the way he was on this occasion. I didn’t understand the need for it. This stands out as being unusual.
“The boy was crying and screaming making a loud noise. The defendant came into the room and asked ‘What’s this noise?’ She then stood behind the boy and held him on a chair. She held him by his upper body.
“The boy continued being very upset and crying and my pupil held his hands over his ears. My pupil was unsettled with the situation.
“She wiped the palm of his hand in a circular motion around his face. It looked unpleasant and I did not understand the need for this to be happening. The boy was very teary. I was two metres away and it lasted for approximately three seconds. It was already taking place when I first noticed it. The boy cried for most to the time. Previously I had seen the boy have difficulties with moving from one activity to another.”
The case continues, in front of Magistrate Bridget Shaw.
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