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A Kentucky elementary school teacher seen on video dragging a 9-year-old student with autism through a hallway pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor assault.
The teacher, Trina Abrams, is due back in court on Feb. 20 for a pretrial hearing, a judge said.
In the video shared Sunday on Facebook by the child's mother, Abrams can be seen pulling the boy along the floor at Wurtland Elementary School in Greenup County, near the Ohio border. The incident happened in October, according to his mother, Angel Nelson.
"Do you want to walk?" Abrams is heard asking the boy at one point, to which the child responded, "No."
Abrams was subsequently "removed from the school," the district said in a statement Tuesday.
The judge ruled that she cannot work in a school setting or around juveniles unsupervised.
Nelson told NBC News that her son was diagnosed with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, and also has limited speech.
She said he has "trust issues" stemming from the incident.
"When you send your child to school you want them to be safe," Nelson said. "The teacher is the farthest thing you should worry about."
Nelson said her son was doing schoolwork when his third-grade teacher "wanted him to do more."
"He needed a break and they kept pushing him to do more," she said. When her son started "having an outburst," a resource teacher in the room — identified as Abrams — grabbed him by the wrists and dragged him out of the room, the mother said.
"I worry about him because he does lack speech, and sometimes he can't express how he's feeling," Nelson said. "He doesn't understand why she did what she did."
Nelson said she eventually pulled her son from Wurtland Elementary and enrolled him elsewhere.