Teacher's aide in Chesterfield charged with assaulting student

Teacher's aide in Chesterfield charged with assaulting student

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A teacher's aide in Chesterfield is facing charges after police say she pinched a special needs student.

Police say Celina Deas-Durant, 48, pinched a 12-year-old girl at Robious Middle School leaving bruises. Investigators say another student inadvertently caught the whole thing on video.

Days after she was charged with assault, Celina Deas-Durant and a family member said "no thank you" and "no comment" when asked by NBC12 about the situation at Robious Middle School.

While Durant didn't want to talk, investigators say images captured in a classroom are telling them everything they need to know.

Chesterfield Police say an aide discovered bruises on the arm of a 12-year-old special needs girl. Even though that child's non-verbal, investigators say she was able to indicate an aide was responsible.

Police say at that same time, another teacher was clearing the phone she allows a student to play with when she discovered the incriminating video. They didn't realize the two cases were connected until they were taken to the school's resource officer.

"We certainly never expect that someone will put their hands on our children in a school environment – it is simply never, ever appropriate," explains educator Kate Cassada.

Cassada is an assistant professor at University of Richmond, but before that she was a teacher and middle school principal. She says word that a teacher's aide may have put hands on a student is troubling, but even more so if that student has special needs.

"Children have to be safe in the care of their school and quite honestly the schools have that same expectation," explains Cassada.

To that end, Chesterfield Schools issued this statement, saying, "This is a very serious charge and the employee has been removed from the school. The employee will not return to the school pending the disposition of the charges and the administrative process."

Durant had been with the school system since August 2014. She's due in Juvenile Domestic Relations court Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on misdemeanor assault charges.

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