Deputies: Teacher's aide threw boy into wall at Clermont elementary school

Jacqueline Zuniga arrested in incident at Pine Ridge Elementary

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Jacqueline Zuniga.

CLERMONT, Fla. - A teacher's aide at a Clermont elementary school was arrested Friday on suspicion of picking up a student off the floor and throwing him into a wall.

Jacqueline Zuniga, a 39-year-old aide at Pine Ridge Elementary School, was arrested on child abuse charges in the February 12 incident.

According to an arrest affidavit, Zuniga was working with a special-needs autistic child who hit and pinched her.  The student also bent Zuniga's fingers back, and she said, "You hit me, I hit you," the affidavit stated.

A short time later, the student was lying on the ground and Zuniga picked him up by an arm and leg and threw him about 5 feet into a wall, causing an abrasion on the boy's head, officials said.

The teacher said she heard a "thud" as the boy hit the wall, and the boy was motionless for about 30 seconds before he came to, the affidavit said.

"A teacher and another teacher's aide reported the incident to administration, and law enforcement was called in," said Chris Patton, of Lake County Schools.  "(Zuniga) was removed from the classroom.  As of Friday, she is on unpaid suspension."

The extent of the boy's injuries were not released.

Zuniga was later arrested in Tavares and taken to jail.

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