A teacher of exceptional children in Cumberland County Public Schools has been accused of assaulting a nonverbal special needs student.
April Michelle Caudill, age 37, has been charged with misdemeanor assault on a handicapped person. The child who was struck is a nonverbal student who often wears a helmet for protection due to seizures.
Bail for Caudill was set at $1,000 and her next court date is February 27.
According to law enforcement probably cause statements about the incident, a
custodian witnessed the incident.
The statement says “Caudill drew back and her hand struck the student on the side/back of the head, twice.” According to the custodian’s account, Caudill allegedly hit the student so hard that the student’s “upper body bowed down twice.”
Investigators also learned that Caudill often put students in “time-outs” and “If that doesn’t work out, then I will just put them in the closet.”
Caudill has been an exceptional children’s teacher at J.W. Coon Elementary since 2011. Prior to that, she worked with exceptional children at Montclair Elementary School between 2006 to 2011.
“We take this matter very seriously and do not condone violence against students or staff. The safety of all students and staff is paramount. When school officials were first informed of allegations of inappropriate conduct, they notified law enforcement immediately,” said a Cumberland County Schools spokesperson.
The district also confirmed that Caudill was suspended with pay on October 23rd.
Caudill is the second Cumberland County area teacher to be arrested in the past week and the 6th one in the last calendar year.
Loretta Nelson, age 40, was arrested by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department for one count of solicitation of a child by computer or certain other electronic devices to commit an unlawful sex act, two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and three counts of indecent liberties with a student.
In December 2018, Dmitri Pelaez, age 30, was charged with six counts of indecent liberties with a student and one count of sexual activity with a student.
Kristian Joy Cook, age 36, was charged by Cumberland County Sheriff with two counts of simple assault on a student in April of 2018.
In March of 2018, Dawn Owen, age 52, was charged by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office with two counts of assault on a handicapped person.
Last February, Carmel Nichols McFarlin, age 40, was charged with Simple Domestic Assault.