Commonwealth v. LambertAnnotate this Case
After a trial, Defendant, a preschool education teacher, was convicted of assault and battery of a special needs student. The court of appeals reversed Defendant’s conviction and remanded the case to the trial court for a new trial, holding (1) the trial court erred in ruling that Defendant acted outside the scope of her official capacity and was therefore not entitled to the benefit of the statutory school personnel exception for simple assault and battery charges afforded under Va. Code 18.2-57(G)(i); and (2) the trial court inappropriately applied the “due deference” standard in section 18.2-57(G). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court’s alternative holding provided an independent and sufficient basis upon which to support Defendant’s conviction. The trial court’s alternative holding was that Defendant’s response to the student was still “unreasonable” and exceeded the physical contact permitted by school personnel under section 18.2-57(G)(i). That factual finding was fully supported by the record in this action and rendered the section 18.2-57(G)(i) exception inapplicable.