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Teacher convicted of assaulting autistic four-year-old to lose her job

Teacher convicted of assaulting autistic four-year-old to lose her job

Friday 21 October 2016

Teacher convicted of assaulting autistic four-year-old to lose her job

Friday 21 October 2016

Jersey’s Education Department is undertaking an internal investigation after a teacher was found guilty earlier this week of assaulting a four-year-old boy with severe autism.

The department says such incidents are extremely rare and that children’s safety is an absolute priority.

In a press release, the department underlines it has a zero-tolerance policy and that “no individual with a criminal conviction for assault against a child is permitted to work in our schools." The teacher involved is being dismissed.

The teacher's name, and that of the school, are not being used in order to protect the identity of the child.

In sentencing, Magistrate Shaw said: “The degree of force was relatively low but you have got to bear in mind who it was against. It was a four-year-old boy and that makes it a different matter. This matter is aggravated by the fact that you were in a position of trust and power.

“This was a child with particular needs who was very vulnerable. He cannot verbalise his feelings or express himself verbally. You knew what his needs were and yet you lost your temper.

“You have an unblemished record over 21 years working at the school. Had that not been the case you might have been looking at a more severe penalty. It was one day where you fell well below the professional standards which was required. The aggravating features are such that if community service was not available I would have sent you to custody. I would also have sent you to custody had it not been for your previous good character.” 

The sentence for the two assaults was 100 hours community service and the defendant had to pay prosecution costs totalling £3,200. 

Education says it is deeply sorry for what the child and family have experienced, and stresses the teachers it employs are highly professional and dedicated. It also stresses there are clear policies governing how children should be treated.

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