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Teacher's aide on administrative leave after being accused of kicking autistic kindergartner

Posted at 11:05 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 07:17:02-05

A Charlotte County teacher's aide accused of kicking a special needs kindergartner was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday.

The teacher's aide worked with special needs students at Neil Armstrong Elementary School in Port Charlotte.

According to a Charlotte County Public Schools spokesperson, the aide will remain on paid leave until an internal investigation has been completed. 

A parent who was volunteering in her autistic son's class claims she witnessed the aide kicking the 5-year-old student.  "The boy had verbalized 'stop hitting me,' twice!" said Jessica Cavalier. "That's when I was like, what do you mean?, there's no hitting in school," said Cavalier. 

She claims she then stood up, and noticed the teacher continuously kicking the child whom Cavalier says was curled up under the desk.

"I was in shock trying to process everything and that's when I in fact saw her kicking him," said Cavalier.

According to Cavalier, the kicks kept coming until the kindergartner moved from under the desk.

"Her kicks were pretty forceful and she leaned back so that she could see under the desk more because it's a big teacher's desk." Cavalier shared what she claims she witnessed on Facebook in hopes of finding the child's parents and she did.

"I was hoping it wasn't my child," said Kelly, the child's mother. "I hoping it wasn't my child." Kelly did not want to reveal her full identity. She told Fox 4 news her son has autism and ADHD, and says both her and her son's father found out about the incident from social media.

"Honestly I just want to get to the bottom of it, find out what's going on. I want to know if she actually did return kicks," said Kelly.

The mother who reportedly witnessed it all happen is now concerned for her autistic son.

"Getting louder than a 5 year-old, topping anger with anger and then becoming physically abusive, that's way out of hand. I fought for my son to be in this class, that's what I fought for, and now I don't think I even want him to come here anymore," said Cavalier.