Special needs teacher accused of making student hit himself

LAS VEGAS (KTNV/CNN) - A special needs student is recovering from a traumatic ordeal at school, allegedly from the hands of his own teacher who is accused of abusing him.

"You're speechless," former neighbor of suspect Ray O'Conner said. "What can you say. It dumbfounds me."

Simply baffled by the charges, O'Conner doesn't want to believe it's true.

"I can't turn my back on her because I know her as what she was here," he said of suspect Margaret Boyett.

Who she seemed to be in her old neighborhood earned the respect of O'Conner who recalled her as a kind of mother, who would often socialize, doing things like selling Girl Scout Cookies on the block.

But he said some troubles came her way and she recently moved out.

"She was having pressure, but you never know what it was. She was always pleasant," he said.

But a different description of Boyett arose from CCSD Police Paperwork, alleging the special education teacher grabbed a student by the wrist, coughing him to strike himself on the head seven to eight times.

"The child was described as visibly shaking and crying at the time but no sustained injuries," said Detective Mitch Maciszak with the Clark County School District Police.

Maciszak credited a teacher's aide at West Prep Academy for immediately intervening and instantly reporting the alleged abuse.

The accusations were an emotional trigger for parents, especially those who have special education students of their own.

"Sometimes they cannot even feed themselves so for us when they're teachers, they're not only teachers. They're the mother and the father at the same time," parent Maria Cecilia-Becerra said.

Documents said the victim's disability prevented him from comprehending the event and forming a cognitive statement.

Neighbors at Boyett's current residents said they're glad she's out of the classroom and in jail.

"It's horrible. It's horrible. I don't think it's right. It's not her position to be doing that and to make a child hit himself. It's unheard of," neighbor Suzanne Riddle said.

Police said Boyett turned herself in and she is currently in jail on a $6,000 bail.

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