PENSACOLA, Fla. — A special-needs teacher has been charged with child cruelty in Florida after allegedly flipping a desk occupied by a Down syndrome student who doesn’t speak.

The Pensacola News Journal reported Tuesday that 56-year-old Donna Dixon has taught for eight years at Escambia Westgate, a school for children with disabilities. A sheriff’s report says Dixon said she felt frustrated without a teacher’s aide. She said the girl had her head down and refused to leave a classroom with other students, so she picked up the front of the desk and the girl fell backward.

Dixon said the girl was too heavy for her to lift off the floor, so she left. Another teacher witnessed it and went to authorities.

The school district suspended Dixon. It’s unclear if she has a lawyer.


Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com