CHICO, Calif. - The mother of an 8-year-old special needs child in Butte County said a special education teacher bit her child. She showed photographs of the bite mark to KRCR News Channel 7.
The bite mark is on the right arm of Melbourne Tyler who attends Chapman Elementary School. His mother said the bite mark came from Trudy Bacon-Ekholt, Melbourne's special education teacher. The teacher and student got into a verbal and physical altercation in the classroom on Wednesday afternoon.
The Chico Unified School District is investigating the alleged incident.
"My son snapped and started throwing furniture," said Donna Shepard, Melbourne's mother. "The teacher grabbed him to restrain him. He turned around and bit her, and she immediately turned around and bit him back."
Shepard acknowledges that her son is struggling.
"He's developmentally slow. You have to have patience with him," said Shepard.
The Chico Unified School District is already on the case. A police officer met with Shepard, and a letter was sent to her by the district outlining what may have happened between the student and teacher.
Shepard isn't sure what should happen next, but said Melbourne's well-being is all that matters.
"He's scared to death of going to school now," said Shepard of her son. "I have to pull his hand off the bed. Or he complains that he's sick so he doesn't have to go to school."
The future of the teacher is up in the air.
Pending the results of the investigation, a representative for the Chico Unified School District didn't rule out the possibility of the teacher, mother and child meeting to see if the education process can continue as it was prior to the incident. When asked about that possibility, Melbourne's mother said she's willing to listen, but makes no promises.