North Carolina teacher accused of assaulting special needs child

Penny Barker

A special needs teacher in Gaston County is accused of assaulting one of her students.

Media outlets report that 42-year-old Penny Barker was charged Monday with two counts of assault on a person under 12 years of age and two counts of assault on a handicapped person. Barker is listed as a teacher of exceptional children for kindergarten and first grade students at McAndenville Elementary School.

According to an arrest warrant from Cramerton Police, Barker is accused of picking a child up by his ears, causing "a laceration to his lower ear and bleeding." It also says Barker took a stuffed animal that had been soaked in cold water and squeezed it over a child's head.

School records show Barker has been suspended with pay since Jan. 24.

It's unclear if Barker has an attorney.

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