, Corbin, KY

September 26, 2013

Trial date set for teacher

Hackler accused of biting child at day care center


CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A trial date has been set for a teacher accused of allegedly biting a small child in her care at the Bell-Whitley Day Care center in August.

Ginger Dawn Hackler, 35, of Williamsburg, pleaded not guilty during her arraignment in Whitley County District Court after her arrest last month.

According to the circuit clerk’s office, her trial is slated for Jan. 8 — she is represented by attorney Jonathan Jones.

According to Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, Hackler faces two counts of third-degree criminal abuse of a child 12 or under.

“Hackler bit a 15-month-old child and then spanked the child,” Bird alleged. “Apparently the child is teething and this was a form of punishment for biting.”

The child was bitten on the arm.

The chief said law enforcement received the call from the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS).

According to the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services website, the state is divided into nine service regions — the Cumberland service region includes Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties, along with 15 other counties.

Hackler has been suspended from her teaching position, according to a statement released by the Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency, Inc.

“The safety of our children is the first priority of our Head Start program,” it states. “We will continue to comply with all manners of the investigation and expect it to be completed in a timely manner.”

No further comments are expected from the agency.

“The teacher in question has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” the agency stated in its release. “Due to confidentiality and the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation, we are not free to comment any further at this time.”

She was jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center Aug. 21 and released less than two hours later on a $7,500 surety bond.