Bond was set at $500,000 Friday for a teacher at Schaumburg's Frost Junior High School accused of battering and restraining students.
Patrick E. McCarthy, 30, of 712 Longview Ave. in Palatine, was charged with three counts of aggravated battery and one count of unlawful restraint early Friday.
The special education teacher has been accused of four separate criminal incidents during this school year involving three students. He is accused of pushing a student into a wall, pushing a student into a filing equipment, forcing a student onto a piece of gym equipment, and tying a student to a chair.
Authorities described the students as three autistic boys, two 12 years old and one 11. One of them cannot speak, prosecutors said.
Schaumburg police said school staff members alerted the principal Tuesday to their concerns about McCarthy.
Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 officials immediately removed McCarthy from classroom duties, placing him on administrative leave.
The principal contacted the Department of Children and Family Services and Schaumburg police, who began simultaneous, independent investigations.
McCarthy supervised a half-dozen autistic students at Frost, Assistant State's Attorney Lynn Palac said in court Friday.
She couldn't specify when all the incidents happened, but said they occurred between Aug. 22 -- the first day of school -- and Tuesday.
Teacher aides who worked with McCarthy said they'd noticed on Aug. 22 that he seemed to be increasingly agitated with the students and increasingly lacked patience, Palac said.
In one incident, McCarthy threw cookies and called a 12-year-old an obscenity after the student took a treat without asking, Palac told Cook County Judge Kay Marie Hanlon.
In another instance, Palac said, McCarthy became agitated with a non-verbal 12-year-old and shoved him face-first into a metal cabinet.
Another time, she said, he made a child put on a weighted vest and jump for 40 minutes straight on a trampoline, forcing him to keep going even when he began crying. The boy had bruises on his legs afterward, Palac said. His parents told police he later had a seizure.
Experts not involved in the case said some similar techniques -- like using weighted vests or having students jump on trampolines -- are sometimes used in moderation in the treatment of autistic students as part of a program coordinated through an occupational therapist. None condoned the actions alleged in the Frost case.
McCarthy also tied a student to his chair with a jump rope, Palac said. The child was able to wriggle free, but McCarthy later got behind him, crisscrossed his arms, squeezed his cheeks and shoved his body against a wall, pressing his own body up against him, Palac said.
Bill Bligh, an attorney who represented McCarthy for the court appearance, said the teacher got his bachelor's degree in special education at Northern Illinois University and is one semester shy of a master's in that same field from St. Xavier University.
Bligh stressed in court that McCarthy's charges for now are "mere allegations" and said the police investigation remains in its infancy. He declined further comment.
In setting the bond, Hanlon said the charges are serious, but also noted McCarthy has no criminal background.
A family member and a teachers union representative were in court Friday but did not comment. It was unclear if McCarthy would be able to post the $50,000 required to get out of jail.
Should he make bail, he is prohibited from contacting any of the alleged victims, and also can have no contact with Frost Junior High or any child under the age of 18.
This is McCarthy's third school year working for District 54. There have been no previous complaints against him, District 54 spokeswoman Terri McHugh said.
The district also is conducting its own investigation. Whether it will take disciplinary action of its own will be known at the end of that investigation, she said.
"Our main focus is working with the kids and assuring their well-being," McHugh said.