By Derek Shore

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — A Roseville special education teacher faces criminal charges after allegedly abusing at least two of her students.

The abuse allegedly took place at Kaseberg Elementary in a pre-K special education classes. The teacher was quietly charged and fired more than a year ago, but it took months for her alleged victims’ parents to be informed.

Duane and Kimberly Beecham’s autistic daughter was in that class in 2013.

“Beautiful little girl, always happy to see us,” her mom said.

But they noticed a change with the 4-year-old, who has a hard time communicating.

“It’s just really really heartbreaking to know that we were sending her to school everyday and she wasn’t able to come home and tell us what was occurring,” she said.

Police say two aides at the school came forward to administrators reporting months of alleged abuse by teacher Theresa Vanwager. According to records, Vanwager is accused of slapping children more than 20 times, pulling their hair and pinching them.

Her alleged targets were minorities, including the Beechams’ daughter, who is biracial. The teacher also allegedly used racially offensive language, saying “everyone needs to own a Mexican.”

She was later arrested, and her court process is ongoing. But parents didn’t learn about it for months.

The Beechams have filed a civil suit along with other parents against the teacher, two administrators and the Roseville City School District, alleging the district failed to intervene.