Former Abilene ISD teacher indicted for biting autistic student

Kirsten Joelle Barnett, a 25-year-old Abilene ISD, was arrested during April 2017 for allegedly biting a 4-year-old autistic student.

ABILENE, Texas - A former Abilene ISD teacher accused of biting an autistic student was indicted Thursday by a Taylor County grand jury for injury to a child.

Kirsten Barnett was working at the Locust Early Childhood Center when the alleged incident happened in February.

According to the indictment, a 4-year-old autistic student was playing in the sand and refused to go to the math area. So, Barnett "pulled (him) into her lap and placed him in a restraining hold."

When the student started squirming and pushing against her, Barnett "bent down and bit (him) on the face by the ear."

The student yelled "no!" and Barnett began to rub his cheek.

A teacher's aid and another worker could see a "swollen bite mark" on the boy's cheek.

Barnett was "immediately placed on leave" and resigned April 7. She was arrested April 18.

Her teaching certificate is still under review by the Texas Education Association.

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