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A South Pittsburg, Tenn., special needs teacher accused of biting a 3-year-old boy while on the playground of a local elementary school has been charged.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said Monday that 32-year-old teacher's aide Jenny Price has been charged with assault on a minor on a criminal summons filed by the alleged victim's grandmother.

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Jenny Price

Price faces a date in Marion County General Sessions Court on May 10, jail officials said. Price was released on her own recognizance, which is typical of a criminal summons in Tennessee, officials said.

Marion County Director of Schools Dr. Mark Griffith said last week that school administrators at South Pittsburg Elementary School contacted him on April 13 after the allegations against Price were made.

Griffith said that, according to a police report, the incident happened on the school playground. Another teacher's aide reportedly saw Price lean toward the boy, who can't speak, and the youngster "made a noise." Price allegedly told the other aide that the boy got twisted in his wheelchair and hit his head, Griffith said. A bruise was found later on the boy's arm.

Griffith said last week that Price had no prior problems. The Tennessee Department of Children's Services also is investigating. That probe could take up to two months.

Price has been suspended without pay until Children's Services and law enforcement investigations are concluded, Griffith said.

The school website shows Price has worked there since 2008 and lists her as a "pre-K exceptional ed assistant."

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

This story was updated April 24 at 11:37 p.m.

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