Local News

Cumberland schools review student-restraint policy

Posted September 20, 2010 4:08 p.m. EDT

— Cumberland County Schools administrators are reviewing the district's policy on restraining students after a 5-year-old's arm was broken.

Authorities charged Jackie Bennett, a teacher at J.W. Coon Elementary School, with assault inflicting serious bodily injury and child abuse inflicting serious injury.

Bennett, 57, of 6529 Pacific Ave., told investigators he was attempting a therapeutic hold on Tacara Gunn when the injury occurred, authorities said.

A therapeutic hold is a way of physically restraining someone for a limited time to calm them and prevent them from hurting themselves or others, Cumberland County Schools officials said.

The restraint is allowed under state law, and Cumberland County Schools spokeswoman Theresa Perry said all teachers of special-needs students, including Bennett, are trained to use the holds as a last resort.

Bennett has been reassigned to a position where he's not working directly with students, pending an internal review of the incident, officials said.