A teaching assistant wept with relief after being cleared of attacking a primary school pupil by hitting him with a clipboard.
Katrina Roper has been suspended from her job for 18 months after the 10-year-old boy claimed she had “whacked” him in the lunch queue.
The boy made the accusation against the 57-year-old school worker after she stepped in to stop him skipping to the front of the line.
She told Dundee Sheriff Court she had not touched the boy at all and he had told her to “piss off” when she asked him to wait in an orderly way.
Roper, of Dundee, denied assaulting the boy, who is now 12, by striking him on the body with a clipboard at the Dundee school on December 16 2019.
Didn’t like being told what to do
The boy said he had been left with a mark on his skin, which disappeared after a few minutes.
His friend said he had seen the assault and claimed to have witnessed an injury on the boy’s skin around two days after it happened.
Another teacher told the court the boy had made an unsubstantiated claim of assault against another school worker.
He denied this.
Roper’s colleague also told the trial she was also involved in monitoring the lunch queue and had not seen her touch the boy with the clipboard.
Sheriff Alison Michie said: “I have no reason to doubt your colleague.
“She does not witness any assault.
“Given divergence of evidence I have a reasonable doubt and will find you not guilty.”
The court heard Roper has been suspended since the incident and will still have to face a disciplinary hearing.
Her solicitor, Paul Kavanagh, said: “The young boy made this up because he didn’t like being told what to do.
“That gave him the motive to make this up.”
Wept with relief
Roper told the court she had worked in her job for more than 20 years without complaint and had previously been a qualified child minder.
“At no point did my board touch him. He was quite aggressive.
“He said ‘piss off, I’m going in’.
“I have been on suspension since 2019. I have no reason to hit children.”
In his evidence, the boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – denied making it up.
“Miss Roper shouts at me to get in line. I go to the line.
“She comes up behind me and whacks me with the clipboard. She just hit me with it.
“I shouted at her and asked me why she hit me with the clipboard and in a sarcastic voice, she said she didn’t.”
He said she had hit him “quite hard” and described the level of force as being “eight or nine-ish” out of ten.
Outside court, Roper wept and said she was relieved to have been cleared after the two- day trial.