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| Crime |

The mouth-taping secretary and five other horrible reports about students mistreated or abused at school

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Palmer Elementary secretary Jennifer Carter has been formally charged with two misdemeanors in relation to an incident last week, when she allegedly dealt with a misbehaving six-year-old student by taping his hands together and his mouth shut.

Startling stuff, but hardly unique. Indeed, accounts of alleged abuse or mistreatment of students at the hands of school employees are becoming more common with each passing day. Here are five reports of conduct unbecoming of anyone, many but not all of them involving students with special needs:

5. Earlier this month, a teacher in Indiana became the target of a lawsuit accusing him of trying to give an eight-year-old autistic boy with a peanut allergy a peanut-laden candy bar in the hope that he'd get too sick to join the rest of his class on a field trip.

4. Also this month, a teacher in Miami Lakes, Florida was given two years of probation for spiking an autistic student's soda with hot sauce, reportedly to "teach him a lesson."

3. Last year, a Port Lucie, Florida teacher reportedly allowed members of her kindergarten class to vote out a five-year-old autistic boy.

2. A South Carolina special education teacher was suspended a couple of weeks ago after being accused of putting a plastic bag over a student's head. A school district spokesperson claimed the bag had merely been near the student's head, not over it.

1. A Chicago television station has collected wide-ranging tales of abuse in the area, including reports that students have been "beaten with broomsticks, whipped with belts, yard sticks, struck with staplers, choked, stomped on and pushed down stairs. One substitute teacher even fractured a student's neck."

Here's the Denver Police Department release about Jennifer Carter:

On Thursday, October 22, 2009, the Denver Police Department received a report of an incident which occurred at Palmer Elementary School, located at 995 North Grape Street. The report alleges that an Administrator taped a students' hands together and placed tape over his mouth. Subsequent to the investigation by the Denver Police Department, Jennifer Carter (01/15/64) was arrested this morning and served with a Criminal Summons and Complaint charging her with Child Abuse and False Imprisonment, which are both Misdemeanors.

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