A Sarasota, Fla. special education teacher who allegedly hit, kicked and pushed her students with disabilities will keep her job.

Diana O’Neill was arrested on four counts of child abuse for hitting students on the head with water bottles and kicking them, among other offenses. But the elementary school educator was acquitted of the charges earlier this year.

The local school district wanted to fire O’Neill for the behavior that reportedly spanned months before two classroom aides called attention to it. But this week an arbitrator determined that they could not terminate the veteran teacher since school officials knew about O’Neill’s actions prior to her arrest, but did not proceed with disciplinary action against her. The school principal says she told O’Neill not to hit her students, but never gave the teacher an official verbal warning.

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O’Neill has been out of the classroom since her arrest in February 2008. Under the arbitrator’s decision, which is binding, O’Neill will be suspended for four weeks and will undergo counseling. She will then be allowed to return to her teaching position or to a similar one, reports The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. To read more click here.