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Teen to face evaluation

A developmentally disabled 15-year-old boy charged with assaulting his special education teacher at Federal Way High School will undergo an evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Tom Murphy said the school district no longer would accept transfer students without complete disciplinary records.

The boy, who had been placed in a sexual offender program in Bakersfield, Calif., remains in youth detention following a hearing Dec. 24 in King County Juvenile Court.

Judge Laura C. Inveen said another hearing would be scheduled in January after the evaluation is completed.

The boy, about 6 feet 1 inch and 250 pounds, was charged with second-degree assault following a Dec. 17 attack on teacher Jennifer Panico-DiGiorgio, 25, who was trying to make him do class work.

According to court papers, she was backing away when he grabbed her head, twisted her torso, slammed her head on his desk, then he pinned her against the desk with his knee and repeatedly punched her in the head with his fist.

DiGiorgio is staying with relatives and recovering from head and neck injuries.

“She is doing OK,” said Joe Panico, her brother. “There’s still no word back on exactly what all the problems are. She has a lot of headaches.”

Officials said Monday they knew a Kern County, Calif., Superior Court judge had found the boy to be a sex offender and “a mentally retarded person who is a danger to himself and others” but were told only orally that he once slapped a teacher.

He was placed in a small group home operated by the Mentor Washington Certified Sexual Offender Treatment Program, which treats sexually aggressive, retarded teens between 12 and 17.

Officials at the Kern Regional Center in Bakersfield, one of 21 state-funded programs that coordinate community-based services for developmentally disabled residents in California, could not be reached for comment on the placement.

The slapping was mentioned at a meeting in October to create an education plan for the boy, but “there was no written documentation,” school spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

“None of the staff had documented it in their notes,” she said.

The boy has been expelled.

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