A Virginia teacher has been charged with assault after she allegedly spat on a student who was going through a mental health crisis, Prince William County police said.
Authorities identified the teacher as Esely Maheia, 46, of Stafford.
The incident happened Feb. 4 at Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge, Virginia, police said. According to the investigation, Maheia and other school staff members tried to "temporarily restrain" a 14-year-old student who was having a mental health crisis in a classroom to prevent him from hurting himself or others.
Once the student was released, Maheia allegedly spat on him before the two separated, authorities said.
Other school staff who witnessed the incident reported it to the school administrators, who then notified Child Protected Services.
The victim was not injured.
Maheia was charged Friday with assault and battery, police said. She was released on a court summons.
In a letter to parents, Fred Lynn Middle School principal Hamish Brewer said Maheia had already been placed on administrative leave last Friday pending the investigation.
“We are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment for every student and do not believe this isolated incident is reflective of the great work accomplished at our school on a daily basis. Thank you for your support and cooperation,” the letter read.
Brewer said that the school was cooperating with police and that he couldn’t give more information on the situation because it involved a staff member and a student.
A court date is pending.
It was not immediately clear whether Maheia has a lawyer.