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Charges dropped against teacher accused of assault during Islamic hand sign lesson

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Jan 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-14 18:52:52-05

Tara Harris walked out of the courtroom triumphant Monday, after a judge cleared her name, saying there was just not enough evidence to prove she assaulted one of her students.

The 5th grade special education teacher at Butts Road Intermediate became the center of a nationwide debate over religion in the classroom back in October, after an article appeared in “The Blaze,” a website owned by conservative commentator Glen Beck.

One of Harris's 11-year-old students accused the 28-year teacher of grabbing her arm while teaching Islamic hand signals in class, causing cuts to her finger.

In court Monday, Harris was able to give her version of events, saying that the girl was only in her class for 10 minutes on October 2nd, before the entire 5th grade departed on a field trip to the planetarium.

She said she was never teaching Islamic hand signs--she was only asking her students what they hoped to learn from the field trip.

After two hours of testimony...the judge dismissed all charges against Harris.

Chesapeake schools still won’t comment on when Harris will be back at work.