UPDATE: Teacher Charged with Battery Against 6-Year-Old Student

By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove Email
By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE 4/12/13 @ 10 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teacher is accused of hurting a 6-year-old student who didn't want to follow the rules in school.

Leonard Harris is staying optimistic in jail after his arrest Friday. Harris says he was a behavior manager at the Damous Psychological Services in Nitro, a facility for kids with behavior and mental problems.

“It's definitely a stressful job,” Harris said during an interview at the South Central Regional Jail. “It's easier being in here than having that job."

His technique with Melissa John's 6-year-old son, who has ADHD, cost him his job and his freedom.

“Some kids don't learn by ordinary behavior correction,” Harris said. “You have to do something different."

“He busted my son's nose,” John said. “He made him bleed."

Nitro police watched a copy of surveillance footage from inside the classroom.

The criminal complaint says on February 22 after the child was misbehaving in class, Harris forced the boy to do push-ups till he couldn't do any more, and Harris then pushed the boy's face into the floor, causing his nose to bleed.

Despite police saying they have video evidence, Harris maintains he never touched the boy.

“I didn't put my hand on the kid," Harris said. "He had a nose bleed because he was doing the pushups in the wrong position. I kept trying to correct him but he kept doing it his way."

The mother says she’s happy Harris is behind bars but disgusted he’s showing no remorse.

"He knows what he's done to him,” she said. “He's trying to make it seem like this is a minor incident when it's anything but a minor incident."

The mother says her son has now completed the program at the Damous Center and should be able to go to a public school soon.

Harris says he has been arrested before on drug charges, but he says that was about 30 years ago.

We're working to get a copy of that surveillance video from inside the classroom so we can share exactly what it reveals.

NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teacher from Nitro is facing charges after police say he forced a young boy to do push-ups and slammed his head into the floor.

Leonard Harris, who is a teacher at the Damous Center School in Nitro, was arrested Friday afternoon.

Police say Harris slapped a six-year-old boy who was misbehaving in class. Then, Harris made the boy do push-ups. When the boy couldn't do anymore, Harris is accused of slamming the boy's head on the floor.

The alleged incident caused the little boy's nose to bleed.

Harris has been charged with battery.

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