Fourth Horry County special education employee arrested for harming student this year

A special education aide was arrested Tuesday for allegedly slapping a child across the face, according to police.

Mary Ann Davis-Polite, 60, of Hemingway, South Carolina, was arrested by Conway Police Department on two charges of unlawful conduct toward a child.

Davis-Polite, a special education paraprofessional/aide at Homewood Elementary in Conway, is accused of causing bodily harm to a student on Jan. 6 and again on May 9, according to a police report.

The report said a school resource officer was alerted May 9 by the school principal that an assault took place between a student and a teacher. The assault was reported by another teacher who was in the classroom at the time, the report said.

“The school administration contacted law enforcement immediately when the allegations were brought to their attention and cooperated fully with law enforcement’s investigation,” spokesperson Lisa Bourcier with Horry County Schools said by email Wednesday.

Davis-Polite, who has been employed with the school system since 2018, was placed on administrative leave with pay on May 10 due to the allegations and will remain on leave until further notice, Bourcier said.

Davis-Polite was released from jail on a $10,000 bond.

The arrest is the latest in a a number of recent allegations involving HCS special education employees harming their students.

Three employees have been arrested this year, including special education teachers at Ocean Bay Elementary and St. James Intermediate, for allegedly hitting or physically restraining students.

There have also been 12 other lawsuits filed against the district since 2018 alleging damages suffered by a student receiving special education services, according to a review of online court records.