A teacher's aide at Pine Ridge Elementary in Clermont, was released from the Lake County Jail on bond Friday afternoon, after being arrested on child abuse charges. Jacqueline Zuniga, 39, is accused of physically harming one of her special needs students.
"I would be very upset, I would be down at that school and would not be happy," said parent Jackie Gamache.
According to the arrest report, the incident happened last Wednesday and was witnessed by other staff members. Deputies say the victim, an autistic student, was allegedly hitting and pinching Zuniga. The report indicates that Zuniga responded by allegedly taking the student's fingers and bending them back then picking up the student by the arm and leg and tossing the student 4 to 5 feet into the wall, causing bruising on the student's head.
"It still seems like it would be unacceptable to me, to throw somebody's child against the wall," said Denzil Brumfield, another parent.
We stopped by Zuniga's Clermont home to get her side of the story, but no one answered the door, meanwhile Lake County parents are outraged to hear such serious allegations against the teacher's aide and say school staff have no business putting their hands on students.
"Only a parent should be disciplining a child, it should not be up to the teacher, if there's a problem the parent should be called in but definitely not for a child to be touched in any way, a parent should be called," Gamache said.
Lake County School District officials say Zuniga is suspended without pay and is now in the process of being terminated. Zuniga has been employed with the school district for 2-and-a-half years.