Pr. William middle school special education teacher, Shirley Whitfield, charged with assault of children

A teacher’s assistant at a Prince William County middle school was charged with abusing two students, police said Monday.

Shirley Whitfield, 69, a teacher’s assistant at Beville Middle School in Dale City, allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy Thursday, Prince William police said, causing minor injuries. She has been charged with two counts of assault and battery.

The alleged abuse took place in a classroom during the school day, said Officer Jonathan Perok, a department spokesman. Whitfield, of the 13900 block of Hedgewood Drive in Woodbridge, has been placed on paid administrative leave , according to school system spokeswoman Irene Cromer.

During the same class period and around the same time, the teacher allegedly hit the girl in the stomach with her hand and she allegedly struck the boy’s head with a toy, Perok said.

Staff at the school reported the incident to Child Protective Services, prompting a police investigation, according to a police department news release.

Whitfield is a teacher’s assistant for special and gifted education students, according to the school’s Web site.

Whitfield, who has been released, could not immediately be reached Monday and it was unclear whether she had retained a lawyer.

A court date was unavailable.

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