• Teacher arrested, accused of assaulting student with autism at Memphis middle school, police say


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A Memphis teacher was arrested after being accused of assaulting a middle school student with autism, according to police and district officials.

    Police said the child’s mother was picking him up from Treadwell Middle School around 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2018 when she noticed a “large bruise on his left ear.”

    When she asked the child what happened, he said his teacher – Katherine Brooks, 61 – pulled on his ear during class.

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    The child’s mother then confronted the teacher and school principal regarding the incident, police said.

    During that conversation, Brooks said she was pulling on the boy’s ear “simply playing a game” with him. 

    In a statement from the principal, he said he heard the child screaming around 1:30 p.m. that day.

    When he looked inside the room, the principal said he “observed the victim sitting in his desk and did not appear to be in distress.”

    The child’s mother confirmed he was diagnosed with autism. 

    “We take these matters extremely seriously,” said SCS spokesperson Natalia Powers.

    Powers said the district has already conducted its own investigation into the incident. She told FOX13 the district’s investigation did not come up with anything substantial.

    “During that investigation they were not able to corroborate the allegations that… the ear was pulled,” Powers said.

    After the investigation, Brooks was then let back into the classroom.  

    However, Brooks was arrested Wednesday and is facing charges of simple assault. 

    Now that MPD is also investigating the incident, SCS officials are relying on the outcome of that before determining any disciplinary actions they take. 

    “There’s a zero-tolerance policy with this kind of stuff. Being able to go through the process, and if we do verify there was some sort of malicious intent, we don’t want that type of behavior,” said Powers.

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