Ex-teacher’s aide gets jail time for assaulting mentally handicapped 12-year-old

Local News

LOUISBURG, N.C. (WNCN) – A former teachers aide at Franklinton Elementary School was found guilty Tuesday of illegally practicing corporal punishment on a child with autism.

It’s the day the family of Jayden Ossino has been waiting months for.

“Jayden is here because she’s a victim of assault,” said Jennifer Watson.

They came to the Franklin County Courthouse not only seeking justice, but to give 12-year-old Jayden a voice.

“Jayden is handicapped,” said Watson. “She’s autistic. She has Potocki-Lupski Syndrome. She has a delayed myelin growth in her brain, which means developmentally she’s 12 to 24 months.”

A former coworker testified that she saw Jayden’s teachers aide, 61-year-old Margaret Harris, hit Jayden multiple times hard enough to bend a large kitchen spoon and leave several bruises.

Jayden’s mother said the assault occurred April 11, 2018. 

Harris denied all of those claims. She said she loved Jayden.

“You should be able to send your kid off to school and trust teacher and staff,” said Watson. “Jayden now has permanent vein damage that is only going to get worse over time. She’s had a lot of behavior adjustments. She’s now home bound. She doesn’t attend public school because she shuts down.”

Ultimately, a Franklin County judge found Harris guilty of the misdemeanor charge of striking a handicapped person, but Jayden’s mother says it’s not enough to replace her daughters suffering.

“My child has been altered physically and mentally for the rest of her life,” said Watson. “It will never be enough. You can take it back, but that doesn’t mean it never happened.”

Harris has since lost her job and will now spend at least 10 days in the Franklin County Jail.

Harris must also serve 12 months probation, perform 24 hours of community service, and undergo a mental health evaluation.

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