Florida preschool teacher accused of slapping 1-year-old during diaper change

MIAMI — A South Florida preschool teacher is accused of slapping a 1-year-old child while changing the boy’s diaper, authorities said.

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Odeity Perez-Barrios, 48, of Miami, was arrested Tuesday and faces a charge of child abuse with no great bodily harm, according to Miami-Dade County online court records. Perez-Barrios is a teacher at Brickell Heights Preschool, the Miami Herald reported.

According to an arrest report, the child’s mother noticed a handprint on the toddler’s left thigh when she arrived to pick him up from preschool at around noon EST on Dec. 19, WSVN-TV reported.

The woman took the boy to a physician to have it looked at, according to the television station.

According to the arrest report, the doctor confirmed that the mark was “consistent with an open handprint making contact with the child using some force to leave the fingers marked,” the Herald reported.

Surveillance video from the school showed Perez-Barrios striking the toddler several times in the thigh as she changed his diaper, according to WTVJ.

After police detained Perez-Barrios, she allegedly told them that she had to hold the toddler tight so he would not fall out of the changing station, the Herald reported. When shown the surveillance video, Perez-Barrios allegedly said she did not remember striking the child, according to the arrest report.

Neither Perez-Barrios’ defense attorney nor the school immediately responded to the Herald’s request for comment.

Perez-Barrios was released from jail after posting $5,000 bail. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Jan. 26, online court records show.

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