Ex-Springfield teacher sentenced for hitting autistic boy

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – A former teacher at a Springfield school for the severely disabled was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation for repeatedly hitting and insulting a 7-year-old student.

As part of the plea agreement, 65-year-old Janet Williams also will no longer be allowed to volunteer or work near children.

Williams, of Lebanon, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to misdemeanor third-degree assault. Prosecutors alleged she repeatedly struck the boy, who cannot speak, and called him names while she taught at Greene Valley State School.

The Springfield News-Leader reports as part of the deal, prosecutors dropped a more serious misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

A federal lawsuit filed by the family against the school, the state, Williams and her supervisor was settled this summer for $350,000.

Information from: Springfield News-Leader