Teacher’s Aide Sentenced for Striking 12-Year-Old Handicapped Girl

January 25, 2019 Updated: January 25, 2019

A teacher’s aide in North Carolina who was found guilty of hitting a 12-year-old handicapped girl was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a year of probation.

Margaret Harris, 61, was found guilty after a former co-worker at Franklinton Elementary School said that she saw Harris hit Jayden Ossino multiple times with a spoon in 2018.

The strikes were so hard that they left several bruises, the former colleague said. The spoon was bent by the impact.

Jayden’s mother Jennifer Watson told WNCN that her daughter is handicapped.

“She’s autistic. She has Potocki-Lupski Syndrome. She has a delayed myelin growth in her brain, which means developmentally she’s 12 to 24 months,” Watson said.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the syndrome leads to delayed development, including delayed speech and language skills and gross motor skills such as sitting, standing, and walking.

Harris denied assaulting Jayden and said that she loved the girl.

But a judge found her guilty of a misdemeanor charge of striking a handicapped person and on Jan. 22 sentenced her to 10 days in jail and a year of probation in addition to 24 hours of community service and undergoing a mental health evaluation. Harris previously lost her job for the assault.

Jayden’s mother said that the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

“My child has been altered physically and mentally for the rest of her life,” said Watson. “It will never be enough. You can take it back, but that doesn’t mean it never happened.”

“Jayden now has permanent vein damage that is only going to get worse over time. She’s had a lot of behavior adjustments. She’s now homebound. She doesn’t attend public school because she shuts down,” Watson added.

Harris Accused of Threatening Gun Violence

It later emerged that Harris allegedly threatened students on a school bus who were misbehaving.

Dr. Larry Webb from Franklin County Schools told the Franklinton Police Department on April 27, 2018, that Harris had told students she would have a family member bring a “piece,” or a firearm, on the bus due to students misbehaving.

Webb said that Harris then dropped the bus off at a school bus garage and refused to drive anymore, reported WCNC.

Franklin County Schools said that it cooperated with law enforcement during the investigation into the incident. The investigation could not prove that Harris made the threat.

“We are committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment to each and every student in our care. This type of behavior is unacceptable,” added Superintendent Rhonda Schuler.

drunk utah man shoots at roommate
A handgun in its case in a file photo. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A teacher’s aide in North Carolina who was found guilty of hitting a 12-year-old handicapped girl was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a year of probation.

Margaret Harris, 61, was found guilty after a former co-worker at Franklinton Elementary School said that she saw Harris hit Jayden Ossino multiple times with a spoon in 2018.

The strikes were so hard that they left several bruises, the former colleague said. The spoon was bent by the impact.

Jayden’s mother Jennifer Watson told WNCN that her daughter is handicapped.

“She’s autistic. She has Potocki-Lupski Syndrome. She has a delayed myelin growth in her brain, which means developmentally she’s 12 to 24 months,” Watson said.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the syndrome leads to delayed development, including delayed speech and language skills and gross motor skills such as sitting, standing, and walking.

Harris denied assaulting Jayden and said that she loved the girl.

But a judge found her guilty of a misdemeanor charge of striking a handicapped person and on Jan. 22 sentenced her to 10 days in jail and a year of probation in addition to 24 hours of community service and undergoing a mental health evaluation. Harris previously lost her job for the assault.

Jayden’s mother said that the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

“My child has been altered physically and mentally for the rest of her life,” said Watson. “It will never be enough. You can take it back, but that doesn’t mean it never happened.”

“Jayden now has permanent vein damage that is only going to get worse over time. She’s had a lot of behavior adjustments. She’s now homebound. She doesn’t attend public school because she shuts down,” Watson added.

Harris Accused of Threatening Gun Violence

It later emerged that Harris allegedly threatened students on a school bus who were misbehaving.

Dr. Larry Webb from Franklin County Schools told the Franklinton Police Department on April 27, 2018, that Harris had told students she would have a family member bring a “piece,” or a firearm, on the bus due to students misbehaving.

Webb said that Harris then dropped the bus off at a school bus garage and refused to drive anymore, reported WCNC.

Franklin County Schools said that it cooperated with law enforcement during the investigation into the incident. The investigation could not prove that Harris made the threat.

“We are committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment to each and every student in our care. This type of behavior is unacceptable,” added Superintendent Rhonda Schuler.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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