Teacher accused of spraying dog repellent on boy's fingers, nails

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A fourth grade teacher at a James Island school is accused of using dog spray on a child in her class.

The boy's parents say the spray was apparently used to keep their son from biting his fingernails.

"I could not believe that a teacher at a school as prominent as the nativity would go out of her way to buy a product at the store," said parent Gene Cardinal.

The teacher didn't just buy any product; she bought one that is intended for the cats and dogs to deter them from chewing on household items.

"She told everyone at the beginning of the year if we chew on our fingers she would take out the "Yuck spray."

Nick Cardinal says he remembers the day all too well when he nibbled on his fingers in his fourth grade class at nativity school and he says his former teacher got out the spray.

"It tasted horrible," Cardinal said. "It lasted all day. I remembered it had a dog and cat on it and she always said don't make me get out the yuck spray."

Cardinal says after the first incident his former teacher caught him again attempting to bite his nails on two more occasions.

"A week later she took it out after she saw me biting my nails and said she changed it into a bottle like any good mother would do and I told her my dad would be angry and she put it up and said 'don't bite your fingers.' "

The whole ordeal has left the Cardinal family more than upset. The family hired a lawyer and also called for the teacher's resignation.

"She is a teacher. She can read its nasty stuff and to put it on a child's hands, I found it unbelievable," said Monica Cardinal, Nick's mother.

"I felt like I trust the school to take care of my son and the trust is broken," Cardinal said.

In response to the incident at Nativity School, the diocese of Charleston released a statement

"On March 15, 2011 the principal of Nativity School was made aware of an incident which occurred in late 2010 in which a teacher at the school was reported to have applied a foreign substance on the hands of a pupil.

The Diocese does not condone this kind of conduct, in particular when it affects a child at one of its schools. The teacher has since resigned her employment at Nativity School.

The Diocese is informed that this product is non-toxic. The Diocese has apologized to the child and his family for the teacher's conduct."

The family says they have not received any such apology, but are relieved she is gone.

"I still don't understand why no one stepped forward to apologize to nick," Cardinal said. "She does not deserve to be there after what she did."

In the statement from the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, they acknowledged the teacher had applied a foreign substance on the hands of the child. The diocese identified the substance as "Yuck, no chew spray. Diocesan officials went on to say they were informed the product is non-toxic.

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