A Texas special education teacher was arrested for allegedly biting a 9-year old student with special needs.
According to NBC News affiliate KXAN, Courtney Nikole “Nikki” Williams, 35, was arrested on the charge of injury to a student. The incident occurred on March 6 at Cook Elementary School in Austin.
The fourth-grade victim, described by her mother as having behavioral problems, was reportedly destructive in class. According to the arrest affidavit obtained by KXAN, Williams removed the student from the classroom. During the ensuing struggle, Williams claimed the child flailed her arms and made contact with Williams’ mouth.
When asked in an interview with police whether she bit the child, Williams replied “I don’t…to be honest, I don’t really know…it was pretty quick.”
However, a pediatric nurse practitioner with a local hospital’s Child Abuse Resource and Education (CARE) Team determined that the bite was intentional.
In an interview with KXAN, the victim’s mother, Librada Henry, was dismayed that something like this could happen in what should be a safe environment for children.
“I was in tears,” she said. “You’re a teacher. A part of this program to teach, to control them — to help them not have behaviors like that and you bite her.”
Williams resigned from her position on April 13. According to KXAN, the case has been referred to the Texas Education Agency’s educator investigations division.
The victim’s mother expressed her concern that other children may be at risk.
“There’s no telling how long you’ve been doing this or whose child you’ve done this to. There’s no telling what you did to someone else,” Henry told KXAN.
A Texas state law (SB507) that went into effect at the beginning of the current school year requires school districts to install cameras in certain special education classrooms. However, the request must be initiated by a parent, staff member or school board member. As reported by KXAN, there were no cameras in the classroom where the alleged incident occurred.
Photo: Austin Independent School District