School, police investigate after child ‘popped' at school

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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PAGELAND, S.C. —

 Crystal Price got a disturbing phone call Wednesday from her child's elementary school.

"The principal called me on the phone and she said my son had been inappropriately touched.  At first, I thought it was sexual," Price said.

Officials at Pageland Elementary School explained that her 6-year-old son was "popped on the butt." 

However, red marks, welts and a handprint were seen on the child's bottom, and the injuries were photographed in the presence of the school nurse.

Price's son is in special needs classes at Pageland Elementary.  He's disabled and does not speak.

According to a report from Pageland police, a teacher's assistant was with the boy in the bathroom when another teacher walked by, saw the woman's arm raise then drop and heard the boy cry out.

The boy was called to see the school nurse, who noticed a red handprint on his bottom and welts on his legs. The handprint was still clearly visible an hour after the incident.

The teacher's assistant denied striking the child, and said she was only clapping her hands together to encourage him to use the bathroom.

"I think she needs to be charged, for hitting my kid," Price said. "I don't want this to happen to another child. Handicapped or not handicapped."

Pageland police are still investigating, and have not filed any charges.  

The Chesterfield County school district didn't release any information about the incident on Friday.  

However, the superintendent's office did tell Channel 9 that its investigation was nearly complete and a statement would be released Monday.

One parent at the school told Eyewitness News she knew the suspect, and it was unlike her to do anything like this.

"She's an awesome teacher's assistant. She'd never do this. Never," said Kim Blakeney. "I'm very surprised."

After hearing about it for the first time another parent, Nicole Steadman said she was shocked.

"I can't imagine anything like that happening.  It disgusts me.  It breaks my heart," she said.

The school district would not say whether the teacher's assistant was out of school on leave.  However, Pageland police and the victim's mother said that she was.