Hernando County teacher's aide being investigated for hurting child's mouth

SPRING HILL, Fla. — A Hernando County teacher’s aide accused of handling children too aggressively is on administrative leave.

"There’s a scratch on her chin here and this is clearly a thumb print from grabbing a child’s face,"
said father Joshua Jones. 

Jones says his daughter complained of her mouth hurting after she got home from a Head Start School in Spring Hill earlier this week. He says she told him the teacher’s aide squeezed her mouth shut.

"It was book time and she was reading too loudly and she didn’t quiet down, so the teacher's aide squeezed her face. It’s as angry as I’ve ever been in my entire life," said Jones. 

When Jones posted his story and a picture to a social media page looking for advice, other parents came forward saying the same teacher’s aide abused their children. 

"My five-year-old daughter was apparently hit in the head with a book for being too loud during carpet time," said parent Heather McClure about an incident with her daughter by the same teacher's aide two months ago.

"She is grabbing my child and ripping her arms apart," said Nick Locicero about how the teacher's aide was handling his daughter recently. 

Parents McClure and Locicero, who is also president of the Head Start parent committee, said they both complained to supervisors about same teacher’s aide in the last few months, and nothing was done.

"Why was my child hurt when there should’ve been something done after the first child was improperly touched?" said Jones. 

We reached out to the teacher’s aide but did not hear back. The school directed us to their attorney, Deborah Hogan of The Hogan Law Firm who gave this statement in part: 

“Hernando Head Start was made aware of the allegation on May 15, 2018, by the child’s parent. The teacher’s aide who was the subject of the complaint was immediately put on administrative leave pending an investigation.  Both the program and the teacher’s aide are cooperating with all governmental agencies regarding the matter.”

Jones says their actions are not enough.

"We can arrest a parent for disciplining their children but it’s ok for a teacher to abuse a child? I want her to go to jail and make certain that she never touches another child again," said Jones.  

The case is currently being investigated by the Hernando County Sheriff's office.

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