SC teacher arrested for hitting autistic student

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - A special education teacher in Horry County has been accused of hitting an autistic student with a dustpan and putting soap in the child's mouth.

Police say 57-year-old Moncille Thomas of North Myrtle Beach was arrested Thursday and charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Thomas is a teacher at Myrtle Beach Intermediate School. Police say a witness told them Thomas put dish detergent on her fingers, then put her fingers in the child's mouth to discipline the student for spitting.

Thomas is also accused of hitting the non-verbal, autistic student in the chest twice with a dustpan.

Thomas was released from jail Friday. It wasn't known if she had an attorney, and school officials say she is on paid leave during the investigation.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)