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Teacher Charged With Assault After Slapping Kindergartner

It's hard to believe that just a few decades ago, corporal punishment was an acceptable disciplinary measure in schools. Now, hitting a student can land you in jail.

Salina Kinlicheeny, a kindergarten teacher at Kinsey Elementary in Flagstaff, knows all about that. Kinlicheeny allegedly slapped a kindergartner who was throwing a tantrum. She's now facing misdemeanor aggravated assault charges, the Arizona Daily Sun reports.

On Aug. 20, one of Kinlicheeny's students was stomping his feet and throwing a tantrum in the hallway, according to another teacher. Kinlicheeny removed the boy from her classroom and allegedly slapped him across the face, according to authorities. The student reportedly started crying.

A school nurse later examined the student and found red marks on his face. The boy was reportedly so upset that he was released for the day.

Under the Flagstaff Unified School District's policy, teachers are only allowed to use physical force to "avoid injury to oneself or others and never as a disciplinary or punitive action," according to the Daily Sun. Kinlicheeny has been placed on paid administrative leave.

She's now facing criminal charges as well. Under Arizona's criminal code, any adult who assaults a minor is guilty of aggravated assault. Kinlicheeny's charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

According to authorities, the incident may not have been the first time Kinlicheeny assaulted the student. The boy's father told investigators that his son had told his mother that the same teacher had grabbed the boy's hand and broke a nail the previous day. However, the incident was never reported to the school.

Kinlicheeny is due in court next month for an initial appearance.

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