Former Granite District teacher charged with hitting a disabled student

A former Granite District teacher has been charged with allegedly striking a “significantly disabled” student in the head.

Cindy Bell, 57, of Sandy, was charged in 3rd District Court with abuse or neglect of a disabled child, a third-degree felony.

According to the charges, a witness — a behavioral aide at Silver Hills Elementary in West Valley City — told police that on Feb. 16, she “could tell that Bell was upset and annoyed” with her students because it was “the end of the day” and “the kids were having a difficult time paying attention.”

As another aide was reading a story, the charges said, Bell walked through the students, who were sitting on the floor, and tripped and fell over a 7-year-old.

Another student began mimicking Bell and falling on students. According to the witness, when she tried to control the mimicking student, Bell yelled at her and said she “would take care of it.” The witness said she saw the student on his knees at Bell’s desk, and that the teacher “hit [him] on the back of the head three times, ‘boom, boom, boom.’”

The student began to cry and said, ‘You hit me, you hit me.’” According to the charges, the student “is significantly disabled and has limited verbal capacity.”

Bell, who had worked at the Granite School District since 2001, was placed on administrative leave the day after the alleged incident. She resigned on April 5.

Bell is free on her own recognizance, and she’s been ordered to avoid contact with the alleged victim. She’s scheduled to appear in court on June 7.