Tara Harris, an elementary school teacher in Chesapeake, Virginia, was charged with assault after a 10-year-old girl’s hand was reportedly cut during an aggressive lesson on an Islamic hand sign, The Blaze reported Thursday.
According to Jason Howerton, Harris “was criminally charged with a misdemeanor on Oct. 11 and released on a summons.” The case, he reported, is still under investigation.
“It’s still a criminal charge. It happened at the school and it involved a student,” said Officer Leo Kosinski, a spokesman for the Chesapeake Police Department.
Stephanie Bennett, the child’s mother, told The Blaze that the teacher “has a disturbing trend of ‘indoctrinating’ students with Islamic teachings,” and openly campaigns for Barack Obama in the classroom.
According to Bennett, Harris also “’prays to Allah in Arabic’ around five times a day in front of students and teaches them about Islam and how it is superior to other religions,” Howerton wrote.
“The teacher was going over Islamic hand signs with the children — she stayed on this issue for two days straight during their reading and math class,” Bennett said.
Howerton reported that the young girl suffers from a disorder that makes it difficult for her to “quickly grasp things like hand signs.”
“Not that she’s uneducated or anything. It’s just a processing problem,” Bennett added.
After two days of training, the child apparently had trouble making the sign, described by Howerton as “an upside A-OK hand gesture.” Frustrated, Harris reportedly “attempted to twist the girl’s fingers to make the Islamic gesture meaning ‘power and strength.’”
“When she didn’t get it right, [Harris] went over and yanked her hand out of her desk and my daughter’s hand got hung up on the metal wire on her file folder and the skin got caught on it,” Bennett explained. “The other children saw my daughter’s hand dripping with blood after the teacher had gotten so mad that she went to twist my daughter’s hand into an Islamic sign.”
Howerton said the mother’s voice dripped with emotion as she explained what happened to her daughter.
Upon learning what happened, Bennett filed a police report.
Nita Redditt, a parent of another child in the class, reportedly confirmed Bennett’s story and said her son was too “scared” to return to school the next day.
“I think he was intimidated,” she said. “I couldn’t believe what was going on in the classroom in regards to this teacher praying to Allah and having them pray with her.”
Bennett told The Blaze that a school resource officer said that “speaking in Arabic wasn’t against school policy,” but Bennett wants the Chesapeake Police Department to fully investigate Harris’ actions.
“She also wants to know why she wasn’t notified immediately when another parent complained to Butts Road Intermediate School officials about Harris campaigning for Obama in the classroom and bashing Republican GOP nominee Mitt Romney,” The Blaze added.
“Kids can’t stand up and fight for themselves. Someone’s got to fight for them,” she said. “Why didn’t someone call me? Why weren’t any of the parents notified?”
Since the incident took place, the teacher has reportedly been terminated from the Chesapeake Public School system, but the district has not confirmed that report.
Howerton also observed that the incident has gone unreported by local media outlets.
A Google search found that aside from blog postings and Howerton’s report, the case has not been mentioned by the so-called “mainstream media” as of this writing.
“So why are local media not covering the story involving Harris, a veteran teacher in Chesapeake, allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old student and forcing her class to learn Islamic hand signs? What makes this story different?” Howerton asked.
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