CUMMING, Ga. — A paraprofessional at a school in Cumming was arrested earlier this week after police say she hit a student in the head with her purse.
Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins was in Cumming, where she learned this all unfolded at an alternative school.
A Forsyth County paraprofessional is facing child cruelty charges after investigators say 56-year-old Felicita Herrington swung her purse and hit a 10-year-old student.
The incident happened Sept. 6 at the Futures Program, an alternative school for students in the county.
According to the police report, the 10-year-old student was upset with Herrington because their math class was not running on schedule.
Investigators say the child began yelling and throwing things at Herrington.
Cumming police responded to the incident. Investigators say the student’s eye was red and puffy, but there were no other injuries.
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Herrington told police that the teacher was stuck in a meeting, so she put math problems on the board to occupy the students, but the 10-year-old began pushing tables around.
The teacher came back a short time later and left again to make copies, the incident report reads. The teacher reported that when she came back into the room, she heard Herrington say, “If you hit me, I’ll hit you with my purse.”
The teacher reported seeing the student jump at Herrington and she swung her purse at him. She stated that the boy kept charging at Herrington until she was able to get him out of the room.
Herrington told police that she did not intentionally swing her purse at the child, but it may have accidentally hit him during the incident.
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Herrington told police that she did not intentionally swing her purse at the boy, but admitted it may have hit him while she was swinging it around.
Officers ultimately arrested Herrington and charged her with one count of cruelty to children.
She was booked into the Forsyth County Jail, but has since been released. Her employment status is unclear.
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We spoke to the president of Georgia’s Teacher Federation about the potential risks of working in alternative schools.
Teachers, educators and paraprofessionals are trained how to handle various types of situations, especially in alternative school,” Verdailla Turner said.
School officials said the following in a statement to Channel 2:
“We are aware of the incident between a staff member and a student on 9/6/22. Almost immediately after the incident and as soon as an administrator was aware, we informed the School Resource Officer, who began the investigation that resulted in the arrest of the staff member. That staff member did not have further interactions with students after the incident and will not be working with any of our students in the future. Naturally, the safety and well-being of all our students and staff are of paramount importance. We cannot comment further on an ongoing investigation.”
“Students should never strike at an adult,” Turner said.
Channel 2 attempted to reach out to Harrington for a comment, but no one answered the phone or came to the door.
“Teachers, adults, and principals are put in between a rock and a hard place every day,” Turner said.
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