Orange City teacher arrested after slapping 11-year-old student with autism, officers say

River Springs Middle School teacher Kelly Falcon, 49, faces child abuse charges

Kelly Falcon (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A River Springs Middle School teacher was arrested Monday after hitting an 11-year-old non-verbal student with autism, according to the Orange City police.

Police said they responded to a call on Feb. 8 from the middle school in reference to an altercation between Kelly Falcon, 49, and a student.

Falcon claimed the student was trying to play in dirt and stick his hand in his dirty diaper, a charging affidavit shows. Falcon goes on to say she proceeded to pin the child down so he wouldn’t do this, police said. According to officers, Falcon said she continued to hold the student down in response to him kicking her and might have hit him.

Surveillance footage shows Falcon slap the student with force, while aggressively pulling and grabbing the child.

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A witness said they do not believe Falcon slapped the student on purpose, but also added the suspect “does yell and can be harsh with (the child) at times,” the affidavit shows. Another witness said they had previously seen Falcon push another non-verbal student into a desk in the classroom.

Both witnesses said instructors at the school are “taught to be non-hands on with students and trained to redirect them as much as possible if behavior incidents arrive,” the affidavit shows.

“This type of behavior will not be tolerated by Volusia County Schools,” the district wrote on Thursday. “Volusia County Schools has released Mrs. Falcon from her probationary period. The safety and security of our students and staff is of utmost importance to us, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the local authorities as part of this ongoing investigation.”

Falcon faces a charge of child abuse without great harm.

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