Lisa Carriere, a Vallivue School District therapist, faces a misdemeanor charge and a threatened lawsuit in connection with an injury to a nonverbal 6-year-old with autism.
A tort claim filed by the boy’s family Wednesday claims Carriere struck the child, then left the room during a speech therapy session at West Canyon Elementary School on Jan. 5.
Vallivue School District Superintendent Pat Charlton told KIVI-TV, Channel 6 that Carrierre is on administrative leave. Charlton called the situation an “unfortunate incident,” saying Carriere has been an “exemplary employee for the last 16 years.”
The tort claim alleges that other members of school staff heard the slap and noticed the child was "acting strange and guarding his face," according to a news release sent out by the family's lawyer, Matt Andrew. Staff reportedly photographed a red hand-print on the boy's face, and the tort claim alleges the blow was strong enough to loosen one of his teeth.
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According to the tort claim, Carrierre claimed the child became aggressive and was going to charge her. The claim, which names the school and school district in addition to Carriere, contends that the district “was aware of Ms. Carriere’s propensity to hit or abuse children.” The claim says the school's principal did not immediately contact the boy's parents or contact police.
The Canyon County Sheriff's Office investigated, and Carriere faces a misdemeanor charge of injury to a child. Her first court appearance is set for Jan. 22 in Canyon County magistrate court.