Teacher assistant accused of assaulting special needs student - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

UPDATE: Teacher assistant accused of assaulting special needs student

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We're learning new details about the case of a teaching assistant being fired for allegedly slapping a student.

The staffer is being officially identified as Sharla Tomberlin, a paraprofessional at A. Brian Merry Elementary School.

In a letter dated January 9, Richmond County Board of Education Superintendent Frank Roberson terminated Tomberlin's employment, following an investigation. The letter alleges that Tomberlin admitted to "popping [the student] in the mouth." The student is identified in the letter as "T.D."

The RCBOE also released another statement about the incident:

"Upon learning of these allegations, the Principal immediately contacted the Central Office to request that an investigation be conducted by the Department of School Safety and Security. An investigation was conducted and a report was shared with the Administration. The School System was closed for the Christmas Holidays from December 19, 2012 through January 2, 2013. As a result of the findings of the investigation, the Paraprofessional was terminated effective January 9, 2013."

Original Story:

A teacher's assistant at A. Brian Merry Elementary is accused of slapping a 5-year-old special needs student.

The assistant is accused of assaulting the child on December 17.

Richmond County Board of Education officials tell Fox54 the aide wasn't fired until last week.

We asked why the assistant was allowed to stay in the classroom around other students for several days; officials said their response was delayed due to Christmas break.

Monique Braswell, the President of the Richmond County Parent Teachers Association is upset by the way the situation has been handled.

"I was absolutely horrified, a special needs child being slapped by a teacher? The teacher should not have only been removed there should be some other repercussions," Braswell, said.

School officials say they are unable to answer questions about the student's gender and how long the assistant had been working with the student to protect the child's identity.

Braswell said, "When we slap our own children you call DFCS, they remove the children out of our home but when you give teachers the power to put their hands on students and they just get fired, that's a problem."

Board of Education officials declined an on camera interview because they say the case could go to court.

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