CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Mingo County special education teacher accused of injuring special-needs children agreed to give up her certification in exchange for abuse charges against her being dismissed last week.
Tina Grace, 53, was indicted by a Mingo County grand jury last July on two felony counts of child abuse resulting in injury and one count of misdemeanor battery. Donna Hurst, a 60-year-old teacher's aide, also was charged with one count of battery.
Mingo Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks said the statute of limitations was set to expire on the felony charges against Grace.
"This is most difficult case I've had to deal with recently," Sparks said. "It involves special-needs children who unfortunately can't testify."
During a pretrial hearing before Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury last week, Grace agreed to give up her teaching certificate in exchange for the three charges to be dismissed.
Sparks said Grace would not fight a separate investigation by the State Committee on Professional Teaching Standards. The committee makes recommendations to state Schools Superintendent Jim Phares, who has the final say.
"The state Board of Education assured me that [Grace's] license and her teaching certification will be suspended," Sparks said. "And her name would also go into a national database" that tracks reports of teaching misconduct, he said.
Grace also agreed to drop a grievance against the county regarding her dismissal related to the investigation and charges.
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 in July.
The state's case against Hurst is proceeding in Mingo Circuit Court next week, Sparks said. He believes Hurst will be convicted of the battery charge against her.
According to the grand jury indictment, Grace allegedly 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 on 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.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.