SHS substitute teacher accused of shoving student will not face criminal charges

CORRECTION – In the third to last paragraph of the Thursday, March 30, 2017, article about an alleged shoving invident at Spalding High School – in a direct quote of Capt. Dwayne Jones – The GRIP erroneously quoted Jones as saying the District Attorney determined no criminal charges would be brought against the staff member involved in this incident. Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Coker DID NOT personally review this case. The determination not to bring criminal charges was made by ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS in Coker’s Spalding County office.
The GRIP sincerely apologizes for this error and regrets any confusion or inconvenience it may have caused.

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office has concluded its investigation into an alleged physical altercation between a male Spalding High School student and a male substitute teacher.

The SCSO was on Wednesday notified of that day’s altercation by the Griffin-Spalding County School System after the involved student reported the incident to another school staff member.

“Deputies were called to Spalding High School regarding a possible altercation between a student and an employee. Our investigators were called to the scene and conducted an investigation into an alleged physical confrontation between a student and staff member,” said SCSO Capt. Dwayne Jones.

Jones said investigators spoke with the substitute teacher and student who were involved in the incident, as well as a second student who witnessed the alleged physical altercation.

Evidence was also reviewed, and upon concluding the investigation, the case information was turned over to the Spalding County District Attorney’s Office for review.

“After conducting the investigation, reviewing the evidence reviewing the video tape that was available, investigators consulted with the Spalding County District Attorney’s Office and they made a determination that it was not a prosecutable offense,” Jones said. “There’s no prosecution that’s going to occur. So, we essentially turned it back over to the school system. As far as anything occurring, the school system will be handling any sort of potential disciplinary action, if any. We’re not involved in it.”

When asked if the question presented to the DA’s Office was whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the student or teacher, Jones said, “The question, it’s my understanding, was whether any charges could be brought against the staff member.”

Jones later described the altercation as “an alleged pushing incident,” and said the incident was visible on the video recording.

“The District Attorney’s Office made the determination that there wasn’t enough to pursue any type of criminal charges, so they declined prosecution essentially,” Jones said. “The one thing about it is that the District Attorney’s Office reviewed the video and all the evidence, and they’re the ones that decided not to prosecute based on what they referred to basically as a lack of prosecutable evidence. It was caught on video. It was. What they said was that there was a lack of prosecutable evidence.”

Jones said the incident was immediately reported by the school system, and that GSCSS officials assisted in the process.

“I do want to stress that the school system notified us promptly of this and cooperated fully with us and our investigation,” he said.

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