Leeds & West Yorkshire

Teaching assistant denies 'bullying' girl, 7, for own amusement

Rachael Regan and Deborah McDonald
Image caption Rachael Regan and Deborah McDoncald are accused of causing wilful cruelty

A primary school teaching assistant has denied that she and a teacher deliberately humiliated a seven-year-old girl for their own amusement.

Rachael Regan, 43, and Deborah McDonald, 41, are on trial at Bradford Crown Court accused of bullying the pupil at a school in Calderdale.

Both women, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, deny a charge of cruelty.

Mrs Regan told the jury the girl found an incident in which sticky notes were stuck to her thumbs "quite amusing".

Taped to a chair

The teaching assistant, of Cousin Lane, Illingworth, was giving evidence as part of her defence.

She told the court taping the girl to a chair in a separate incident had been a "bit of fun" and the girl had not seemed upset.

"She could still move. The tape was only stuck to her clothes. The class was laughing with her, not at her" Mrs Regan said.

Mrs Regan and Ms McDonald, of Birks Hall Terrace, are accused of carrying out a catalogue of incidents over a five-month period.

They also included shutting the girl in a storeroom and tying her shoes on with string.

The court heard the pupil's thumb-sucking had become a "real issue", which was preventing her from doing her work.

The teaching assistant said: "I was trying to stop her sucking her thumbs. She had found it quite amusing."

'Lovely girl'

Giving evidence, Ms McDonald told the court the girl was "proud" when her colleague tied string around the girl's shoes because they looked like Roman sandals.

She said the pupil's shoes were "dangerous" because they were too big and the string helped to make them safe.

The teacher said: "I don't think I've ever seen (the girl) so proud. The sandals gave her a big boost to her self-esteem. She did enjoy the attention."

Ms McDonald told the court she had not deliberately ill-treated or humiliated her.

"(She) is a lovely little girl. We got along very well together, I liked her, she liked me, I was very happy to be her teacher," she said.

"She made me smile on so many occasions. I have many happy memories of her."

The trial continues.

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