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Despite 6 probation violations, former teacher who struck autistic student with tablet avoids jail

Rosemary Diaz, 60, ordered to go through additional drug testing

SAN ANTONIO – A former Southwest Independent School District teacher who admitted to twice assaulting a 5-year-old student with autism avoided being sent to prison in the case Tuesday, despite violating the conditions of her probation at least six times.

Rosemary Diaz, 60, was ordered to submit to biweekly drug testing over the next 90 days as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

A 30-day jail sentence was set aside since Diaz has been in custody since Sept. 20 in connection with the probation violations.

The parents of the child, now 7, said the agreement to keep Diaz out of prison flies in the face of their wishes.

"I am not satisfied at all. I feel our justice system has failed our son," said Cassandra Martinez. "Everybody has been very clear since day one: We want her behind bars."

Martinez's husband, who spoke with the KSAT Defenders prior to Diaz's court appearance, was too upset after the hearing to take part in an interview.

Diaz, a former special education teacher at Indian Creek Elementary School, was placed on leave and later fired in February 2017 after district administrators were made aware of two incidents on back-to-back days recorded by a security camera in Diaz's classroom.

Martinez, who was allowed to watch the videos, said Diaz grabbed her child's Samsung computer tablet from him and then used it to hit him on the head.

"She hit him with the intent to injure him. She hit him so hard with the tablet, she knocked him to the floor," Martinez said.

Diaz was ordered to reimburse the Martinez family for a new tablet but only made a handful of payments, according to Martinez.

During the second incident, Diaz shoved the child with her hand before picking up a chair, according to Martinez.

"She was prodding at my son with the legs of a chair, like she was a lion tamer. My son is not an animal. He may have a disability, but he's not an animal," Martinez said.

Diaz was given five years' probation and surrendered her Texas teaching license in November 2017 in exchange for pleading guilty to assault causing bodily injury to a disabled person and assault causing bodily injury to a child, Bexar County court records confirm.

Within months of being convicted, however, in February, Diaz tested positive for marijuana, court records confirm.

Diaz has only paid around 15 percent of her court fees, tested positive for marijuana a second time in April and skipped three drug tests, records show.

The Bexar County District Attorney's Office has declined multiple requests from the KSAT 12 Defenders to release footage of the incidents involving the child.

In the latest request for a ruling from the state attorney general's office filed on Oct. 11, an assistant district attorney said the footage is confidential and should be withheld, in part because it was recorded by the school's surveillance system.

The assistant district attorney assigned to the case said she was not permitted to speak about the case or Tuesday's hearing.

As of Thursday afternoon, the district attorney's office had not responded to an email seeking comment.


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