AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Cook Elementary School special education teacher is charged with injury to a child after a parent says the teacher bit her daughter at school.
According to court documents, Courtney Nikole Williams, 35, was arrested and charged with the crime for an incident on March 6.
The arrest affidavit states that Williams had to remove the victim, a 9-year-old student, from the child’s classroom because the child was being disruptive. At one point, Williams admitted she bit the victim on the arm when she said the victim “flailed her arms.”
The victim’s mother sat down with KXAN exclusively Wednesday.
“I was in tears,” explained Librada Henry, the victim’s mother. She says it was a call she never expected. “Why would you bite my child? She goes to school to be safe.”
Henry said she couldn’t believe a special education teacher would harm a student. “You’re a teacher. A part of this program to teach, to control them — to help them not have behaviors like that and you bite her,” she added.
Henry says her daughter has behavior problems, but that doesn’t give anyone a reason to bite the girl.
“For you to have top and bottom teeth row on her arm like that, no. Then the nurse says there’s breakage at the skin from you biting her, no. It’s too much,” said Henry, who believes more needs to be done to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “They should go through training and stuff for that because I feel like she wasn’t even trained for it — for her to do that.”
Henry is also concerned there may be additional victims.
“There’s no telling how long you’ve been doing this or whose child you’ve done this to. There’s no telling what you did to someone else. Those kids don’t deserve to be bit, hit, or anything,” she said. “I just hope she doesn’t work with anymore kids, honestly, because if you did that once, you’re going to do it again.”
According to court documents, Williams said as she was standing behind the victim, the student “started to push her left arm up which made contact with Williams’ nose and mouth area.” Williams claims that as she was hit with the child’s arm, she was closing her mouth because she was telling the girl to “stop resisting.”
The injury broke the child’s skin. One witness heard the child scream, “You bit me, you bit me,” at the time of the incident.
A pediatric nurse with the Dell Children’s Hospital Child Abuse Resource and Education (CARE) Team evaluated photos of the victim’s injuries. The nurse determined that, based on the injury, the bite to the victim was intentional.
Later, in an interview with police, when asked whether she bit down on the student’s arm when she was hit in the mouth, Williams said in part, “I don’t… to be honest, I don’t really know… it was pretty quick.”
In a letter sent home on April 3, the principal at Cook Elementary School told parents about the arrest.
Williams submitted a resignation letter to Austin ISD on April 13. She is currently under review by the Texas Education Agency educator investigations division. The Department of Family and Protective Services also investigated the incident and concluded their review on April 4. Their investigation revealed there is “reason to believe” physical abuse occurred. Meaning, they substantiated the report.
AISD said there were no cameras in the classroom, saying that someone would have needed to previously request one be installed. There are 43 cameras in special education classrooms throughout the district.