CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Mingo County special education teacher and a teacher's aide were indicted this week on charges involving special-needs students.
Tina Grace, 53, was charged with two counts of child abuse resulting in injury and one count of misdemeanor battery. Donna Hurst, 60, was charged with one count of battery.
Grace was a special education teacher and Hurst was a teacher's aide at Riverside Elementary in Williamson, according to the school's website.
Neither woman is still employed by the school system, said Mingo County Superintendent Randy Keathley.
According to the indictment, Grace injured one student during class in April and May of 2009 and injured another in September 2011. Hurst is accused of physically harming a student Sept. 22, 2011.
The charges stem from a state Department of Health and Human Resources investigation into allegations the teachers used inappropriate disciplinary methods on special-needs students, according to the indictment.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt; it just means that a grand jury believes enough evidence of a crime exists to warrant a jury trial.
Grace and Hurst pleaded not guilty this week to the charges before Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury.
Thornsbury set a $20,000 bond each and ordered the women not to have contact with non-family members under 18. The women posted bond Friday.
Liza Cordeiro, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said she could not comment on the investigation, but said the women could go before the State Committee on Professional Teaching Standards.
The committee's inquiry would be separate from the criminal investigation and could result in the removal of their teaching license. Any findings would go before Jorea Marple, state superintendent of schools, who would make the final decision.
The women have a trial date set in October.Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.