NEW HAVEN >> A fourth-grade teacher at Wexler-Grant School is under investigation after a student spit on his finger and swirled it around in another student\u2019s ear \u2014 known as a \u201cwet willy\u201d \u2014 after the teacher allegedly invited students to spit or use the ear method to wake the girl up, according to the girl\u2019s mother. City spokesman Laurence Grotheer could not reveal details, but confirmed that an incident was reported related to a student in a classroom at the Wexler-Grant Community School and \u201cthe staff member in question was immediately placed on leave and the matter was referred to the state Department of Children and Families.\u201d \u201cSchool administrators and District officials are investigating the matter in collaboration with DCF and will take appropriate action \u2014 based upon their findings \u2014 at the conclusion of that investigation,\u201d Grotheer said. The girl, 10, is an honor student who put her head down on the desk, as students are allowed to do, because she had finished her work early, the girl\u2019s mother said. The complaint against the teacher originated with the girl\u2019s mother, Candace Cherry, who said she\u2019s deeply troubled that a teacher would encourage assaultive behavior of any kind, and it was made all the worse by body fluids being involved. \u201cShe was like, \u2018Mommy, that\u2019s so nasty,\u2019\u201d Cherry said, quoting her daughter. \u201cI thought it was disgusting.\u201d Cherry said six students in the class heard the teacher first say to spit on the girl to wake her up, changing it to the wet willy directive \u2014 neither of which is OK with Cherry. A boy in the class gave Cherry\u2019s daughter a wet willy, she said. Cherry said the teacher admitted in a meeting that she invited students to give the girl a wet willy, but was only joking and didn\u2019t expect anyone to do it. Cherry said the teacher denies that she told anyone to spit. The principal at Wexler-Grant didn\u2019t return a phone call. Grotheer said, \u201cThe safety and well-being of all students is a priority at NHPS and the district takes all allegations related to student safety seriously as it seeks to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff alike.\u201d Cherry said she and her daughter met with a DCF worker Saturday who was concerned about the girl\u2019s feelings in the aftermath of the incident. Cherry said the wet willy indeed woke her daughter up and when she opened her eyes, classmates were laughing at her. Cherry said her daughter texted her using someone else\u2019s phone to tell her of the incident. Cherry told her daughter to go to the office and call her, and when she didn\u2019t receive a call back, Cherry called the school. A secretary in the office asked the girl what happened, then scolded her for using a phone in school, which is against the rules, Cherry said. The teacher apologized to Cherry\u2019s daughter, but Cherry said that doesn\u2019t satisfy her and that she would like to see the teacher disciplined by suspension or firing. \u201cThere has to be a consequence,\u201d Cherry said. The day after the incident, Cherry, the girl, the teacher, principal and another school official met. The principal called DCF, Cherry said.