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Dec 10, 2019 11:20 AM EST

Georgia Teacher Arrested for Punishing 5-year-old Student with Special Needs

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Child Abuse
(Photo : Pexels)

After she allegedly left a child sitting in his own feces for hours to "prove a point" about bathroom habits, a Georgia special education teacher was arrested. Kelly Lewis, 56, was charged with one count of child cruelty on 21 November at Frey Elementary School in Acworth, a suburb northwest of Atlanta.

That day, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported a 5-year-old pupil with special needs who defecated in his pants, citing papers from the Cobb County School District Police Department.

Lewis is accused of leaving the child for about two hours in his soiled clothes because she was "going to prove a point" about the use of the bathroom by the students, police officials said.

The Cobb County School District said Lewis had been placed on administrative leave until the investigation's outcome. Whether Lewis has a lawyer who is willing to comment on her behalf is unknown.

As a result of the actions of the teacher, the child experienced redness and discomfort to his buttocks as well as mental pain as stated in the arrest warrant.

The Cobb County School District said in a statement:

"We recently learned that a staff member may not have provided the high level of care for a student that Cobb Schools requires. Parents have been notified, and this staff member is out on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation. Due to state and federal privacy laws, including FERPA, we are unable to provide more specific detail. Cobb is committed to ensuring that our students have a safe and supportive environment so they can achieve success."

Lewis, however, was booked on Wednesday at the Cobb County Jail and was released after she posted a $5,720 bond.

The law in the State of Georgia includes physical injury and endangering a child or death in its definition of child abuse. Lewis clearly violated this law and as a result, schools are now implementing strict rules among their faculty members to ensure the safety and protection of children.

A recent report indicates that 70.3% of children in Georgia State suffered neglect, 25.9% suffered emotional abuse, 10.1% suffered physical abuse, 4.3% suffered medical neglect, and 3.0% suffered sexual abuse.

In the U.S., more than four children die every day from child abuse and neglect. More than 70% of these children are under 3 years of age. In the United States, 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported annually.

According to UNICEF, any punishment in which physical force is used to inflict some degree of pain or discomfort is referred to as physical discipline, also known as corporal punishment. For instance, this involves pinching, spanking, striking kids with a fist, or pressuring them to eat something.

UNICEF further explained that violent psychological discipline involves "the use of verbal aggression, threats, intimidation, denigration, ridicule, guilt, and humiliation, withdrawal of love or emotional manipulation to control children".

Violent punishment is a violation of a child's right to safety from all forms of violence when caring for their parents or other caretakers, as set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations.

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