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Marion County officials confirm that the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and local law enforcement is investigating a report that a teacher's aide at South Pittsburg Elementary School bit a toddler with special needs last week.

Marion County Director of Schools Dr. Mark Griffith said school administrators contacted him last Thursday after allegations were made regarding teacher's aide Jenny Price and a 3-year-old special needs boy.

A phone number to reach Price for comment could not be found.

Griffith said a police report describes the incident that happened on the school playground.

Another teacher's aide reportedly saw Price lean over and bite the little boy, who can't speak, on the arm, Griffith said of the report. Price allegedly told the other aide that the boy got twisted in his wheelchair and hit his head, Griffith said. A bruise was found on the boy's arm.

Price has been suspended without pay until the DCS and law enforcement investigations are concluded, Griffith said. The school web site shows Price has worked there since 2008 and lists her as a "pre-K exceptional ed assistant."

"We've never had an issue with Ms. Price. I'm very surprised," Griffith said Wednesday.

"We're going to wait until we get all the facts from the DCS investigation and the law enforcement investigation and we'll go from there," he said.

The DCS probe could take up to 60 days, Griffith said.

No criminal charges have been filed so far.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

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