In August, Meredith Leigh Burgess started the school year as a kindergarten teacher at Hill Elementary, entering her ninth year of teaching in the Arlington school district.

Today, Burgess isn't teaching anywhere.

The 34-year-old Coppell woman is accused of slapping the arm of a kindergarten student who had his hand down the front of his pants in her classroom in November.

The day before, Burgess had thumped the head of the student for doing the same thing, her attorney says.

Her actions were reported to school officials, who placed her on leave and began an investigation, and police later issued a citation accusing her of offensive or provocative physical contact, a Class C misdemeanor.

She makes her first court appearance Monday on the citation, which carries a maximum fine of $500, according to Arlington court records.

The police "were wrong. They should not have issued her a citation," Burgess' attorney Lex Johnston said. "The Arlington Police Department is trying to make the school district policy [a] law. It is not."

The school district prohibits corporal punishment. The policy states "students shall not be spanked, paddled or subjected to other physical force as a means of discipline for violations of the student code of conduct."

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