Parent accuses Chesapeake teacher of assaulting student while teaching ‘Islamic hand signals’

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Chesapeake, Va. - Assault, battery and indoctrination of Islam in a 5th grade special education classroom - all accusations from Stephanie Bennett, a Chesapeake mother whose 10-year-old daughter attends Butts Road Intermediate.

Bennett wouldn't talk to NewsChannel 3 on camera, but does confirm all the details first published on Wednesday night by "The Blaze," a website owned by conservative commentator Glen Beck's production company.

Bennett says the assault on her daughter happened during a lesson on how to perform Islamic hand signs by her teacher, 52-year-old Tara Harris.

According to Bennett, her daughter came home on October 2nd with a cut on her hand, saying her teacher grabbed her arm, angry because the 10-year-old wasn't doing the hand signal properly.

Bennett went to Chesapeake Police, and investigators received a report of an assault on a student by a teacher that took place during school hours.

Police confirm that pictures of the supposed injuries were provided.

A summons, filed in Juvenile and Domestic Relations court on October 11th, charges Harris with assault and battery on a minor, but NewsChannel 3 still doesn't have any validation from police or school officials about the mother's other claims of religion being pushed on students.

Bennett insists that the Islamic indoctrination did not stop at hand signals.

She accuses Harris of praying in Arabic during class, teaching Islam as a superior faith, and campaigning for Barack Obama in the classroom.

NewsChannel 3 went to Butts Road Intermediate after school ended Thursday, to see what other parents thought about her story.

“Yes, it’s absolutely possible. Did it happen? I don't know, I will have to see all the facts,” said Stephanie Hensley.

“I find it incomprehensible. I spend time volunteering each week, and have two children there, and I can’t even imagine it,” said another parent who did not want to be identified.

NewsChannel 3 tried to talk to Tara Harris, visiting her Chesapeake home Thursday afternoon, but she wasn't there.

Chesapeake Schools says Mrs. Harris has been suspended and her pay put in an escrow account, because it’s a state code requirement for anybody charged in this type of crime.

That means she has not lost her job yet, although the school district is investigating.

Harris must appear this coming Monday, October 22nd in Chesapeake Juvenile and Domestic Court for her summons, where a judge will decide if the case against her will continue.