Teacher Charged with Child Abuse After Beating 4-Year-Old Autistic Boy in Class

by Xara Aziz
Indian River Elementary School

A Daytona teacher has been arrested and charged with child abuse after she allegedly battered a 4-year-old boy with autism, police say.

According to Edgewater police Capt. Charles Geiger, Stacy Strnad, 48, struck the boy twice on the arm with an open hand. As the child tried to run away, the suspect yanked his arm then pulled him, causing him to fall.

The incident took place at Indian River Elementary School in Edgewater on Thursday, according to police.

Volusia County Schools spokeswoman Danielle Johnson said since the incident, Strnad has been placed on leave pending an investigation.

The boy suffered a cut to his arm, which happened after the teacher’s alleged assault caused a bookcase to fall on him, police say.

“Volusia County school officials followed all protocols in immediately responding to the incident and are cooperating with the police investigation, Johnson said,” per Daytona Beach News-Journal.

“VCS takes any behavior that jeopardizes the safety of our students and trust of our parents very seriously,” Johnson wrote in an email. “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.”

According to a report in GreatSchools Staff, “It’s well documented that children with disabilities are at risk for bullying by other students. But it’s not just kids who can be cruel. Teachers and administrators also disproportionately single out disabled students for violent punishment in the name of discipline.”

The report continues: “Restraint should only be used when a child is a danger to himself or others rather than used to punish or for compliance,” says Nadine Block, a former school psychologist who is now serving on a task force developing such a policy for Ohio schools. Teachers and administrators should also be trained on how to safely restrain children.”

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