Teacher charged with breaking student's arm returns

Jackie Bennett (Image courtesty Cumberland County Sheriff's Office)

October 21, 2010 8:46:29 PM PDT
Cumberland County school officials say the teacher who broke a 5-year-old girl's arm during what's called a therapeutic hold will return to the classroom on Friday. Last month, 57-year-old Jackie Bennett was charged with assault and child abuse after breaking the arm of his student.

Bennett said he was trying to restrain the 5-year-old girl with a therapeutic hold to calm her down, when her upper right arm broke.

The girl was in Bennett's class for children with behavioral problems, at J.W. Coon Elementary School.

School officials say their investigators believe Bennett used the wrong kind of hold on the child and that led to her injury.

School officials say the school policy on restraining students was not at fault.

"Our policies are sound and if followed the young girl would not have had her arm broken," Cumberland County Superintendant Dr. Frank Till said. "At the same time our conclusion is it was an accident. It wasn't done with malice or intent it was just the wrong hold and it resulted in to a broken arm."

Till says Bennett was suspended for two weeks without pay and retrained in policy and physical techniques for therapeutic holds.

He still faces criminal charges and it will be up to the district attorney to decide if those charges are now dropped or prosecuted.

School officials tell ABC11 Eyewitness News that the 5-year-old girl is now in another class.

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