MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – An Horry County School District teacher has been arrested for unlawful neglect of a child, allegedly after disciplining a child with special needs with dish detergent, according to a Myrtle Beach Police incident report.
On Thursday, police responded to Myrtle Beach Intermediate School, where a witness told them 57-year-old Moncille Thomas put dish detergent on her fingers, and then put her fingers inside the mouth of a non-verbal autistic child, to discipline him for spitting. The incident report states she then struck the child twice in the chest with a dustpan.
Thomas was arrested and charged with a felony count of unlawful neglect of a child. She turned herself in Friday morning, and was booked into the Myrtle Beach jail shortly afterward.
"In some cases it's pre-arranged through an attorney," said Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes. "They turn themselves in so they can get processed in our jail, and go to bond hearing right after that."
Thomas' bond was set at $20,000 at a hearing.
Audio recordings of the hearing captured the frustration of the young boy's father.
"I watched a lot of harshness she was doing," he said. "Whatever the bond is, I hope it's the highest you can give."
Horry County Schools spokesperson Teal Britton said Thomas is a special education teacher who has been teaching for 28 years, and was employed by Horry County Schools in 2004. She has been working for Myrtle Beach Intermediate School since August 6, 2013, Britton confirmed, and has previously worked at Loris Middle School, North Myrtle Beach Middle School, and North Myrtle Beach Elementary. She is on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation.
Her first mandatory court appearance is set for November 1st.