Teacher accused of assaulting special needs students


Authorities arrested a North Carolina elementary school teacher on suspicion of assaulting a child with disabilities by using hands and objects, police in Cramerton, North Carolina, confirmed on Monday.

Penny Barker, a 42-year-old special needs teacher at McAdenville Elementary School, has been suspended with pay since Jan. 24. She is facing two counts of assault on a child under 12 years of age and two counts of assault on a handicapped person.

>> Read more trending stories

She is due in court on April 3. 

Warrants showed that Barker allegedly grabbed a 6-year-old boy by the ears and picked him up off the ground, which caused cuts. The warrants also allege she squeezed a cold, soaked stuffed animal over the head of a 5-year-old child, causing the water to fall onto the child's body.

The alleged crimes occurred between Oct. 1, 2016 and Feb. 4, police said.

Parents told WSOCTV that they planned with school leaders Tuesday morning. Several parents said they were notified about the arrest through media reports, and not through the school.

"The kids as it is don't have a voice and us as their parents, we have to be their voice," said Christopher Jennings, a parent of children with disabilities at McAdenville Elementary. "It is absolutely sickening."

Parents are calling for more transparency at the school and are worried there potentially could be more victims.

"Our kids with disabilities should not be treated any differently than a normal child," Amber Jennings said. "You need to realize if you're going to take on a position and be a special needs teacher you have to understand the children you're going to be dealing with on a daily basis."

Barker was released from the Gaston County Jail and after being placed under a $10,000 secured bond.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Trial reset for man accused of killing Hutto police sergeant in 2015
Trial reset for man accused of killing Hutto police sergeant in 2015

The trial for a man accused of killing a Hutto police sergeant in 2015 by running him over with the sergeant’s patrol car has been reset to Nov. 6, according to a court docket. The trial for Colby Williamson, 28, was originally was set to begin Monday with jury selection. It was reset because of a family emergency, according to the docket, which...
HAPPENING TODAY: Dawnna Dukes’ attorneys want to withdraw from case
HAPPENING TODAY: Dawnna Dukes’ attorneys want to withdraw from case

Attorneys for state Rep. Dawnna Dukes will request to withdraw from her public corruption case at a hearing on Monday afternoon in Travis County state district court. The hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Two of her three lawyers, Houston’s Dane Ball and Shaun Clarke, filed a motion three weeks ago to withdraw from the case, saying they have been...
LIVE COVERAGE: Solar eclipse watch parties in Austin, Eanes schools
LIVE COVERAGE: Solar eclipse watch parties in Austin, Eanes schools

Students will have a memorable first day at school today. Campuses throughout Central Texas are hosting live watch parties of the solar eclipse. In the Austin district, Burnet Middle School will have a school-wide watch party. Students will learn about the eclipse during class, then break outside the watch the eclipse, expected to peak at 1:10 p.m...
Police: Jimmy John’s delivery driver added tips to 32 bills
Police: Jimmy John’s delivery driver added tips to 32 bills

A Jimmy John’s sandwich delivery driver in Georgetown faces up to 10 years in prison after police discovered she added unauthorized tips to 32 credit card bills, according to an arrest affidavit. Katelyn Naomi Hetzler, 24, of Georgetown, was charged with credit card or debit card abuse of the elderly, a third-degree felony. The charge is based...
Mother arrested after 16-month-old overdoses, authorities say
Mother arrested after 16-month-old overdoses, authorities say

An Indiana mother is facing charges after authorities said her 16-month-old son overdosed on opiates and had to be revived with naloxone, according to multiple reports. Daisha Clark, 26, was arrested last week after her cousin took her son to Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, The Star Press reported. She initially tried to talk her cousin out of the...
More Stories