Teacher accused of putting student with disabilities in trash can, deputies say

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — A local elementary school teacher is accused of putting a student with disabilities in a trash can at least twice.

The Iredell County Sheriff's Office has charged 51-year-old Robin Johnson with two counts of misdemeanor assault on a handicapped person.

Deputies said they received a report Sept. 12 from a therapist who had spoken with several students at Cloverleaf Elementary School. Multiple children had reported being picked up and put in a trash can or recycling bin.

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Investigators said the assaults happened during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years when Johnson was the teacher assigned to the exceptional classroom at Cloverleaf.

According to deputies, the evidence showed Johnson put a student with disabilities in the trash can at least twice.

Renee Andrews told Channel 9 her son, Gage, was that student.

"He had been coming home telling horror stories," she said.

Andrews said she initially thought she misunderstood her son when he came home saying he had been put in a trash can.

(Gage and Johnson)

But when the Benedetti family heard the same thing from their son, the parents talked to the school counselor.

"He was telling me kids were getting put in the trash can," mother Winter Benedetti said. "At first, I couldn't make sense of what was going on."

Johnson was arrested earlier this month and is expected to appear in court Nov. 4.

The Iredell-Statesville School District said Johnson was suspended with pay pending an investigation.

School officials said she's been with the district since 2008, serving as a bus driver, receptionist, teacher assistant and teacher. She's worked at NB Mills Elementary School, East Elementary School and Cloverleaf Elementary School.

Investigators said Johnson does not have a criminal past.

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

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