Gaston Co. teacher accused of assaulting handicapped student

- A Gaston County teacher is facing multiple charges after police said she assaulted a student who is handicapped. 

Penny Pope Barker, 42, is charged with two counts of assault on a child under 12 and two counts of assault on a handicapped person, according to Cramerton police.

The crimes reportedly occurred between October 1, 2016 to February 4, 2017. Barker was employed by Gaston County Schools at McAdenville Elementary School during the times that the crimes occurred, according to police. 

Gaston County's school website lists Barker as both a Kindergarten teacher and First Grade special needs teacher. She had been with Gaston County Schools since 2001, and a teacher at McAdenville since July of 2012. 

According to the school district, her current status is suspended with pay. 

Barker was held at the Gaston County Jail and placed under a $10,000 secured bond. Cramerton police said this investigation remains ongoing. Additional charges may follow. 

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