SCSO: Cowan Road Middle School coach aggressively approached, pushed student down

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office incident report related to the Aug. 17 incident at Cowan Road Middle School involving a coach and student details what was reported to law enforcement and school officials as well as what was recorded on video.

Based on a statement from Sheriff Darrell Dix, The GRIP initially erroneously reported that Robinson resigned following the incident, but school officials say he is still employed by the Griffin-Spalding County School System.

“There is a personnel matter at Cowan Road Middle School regarding the manner in which a staff member redirected a student,” Director of Communications and Partnerships Adam Pugh said on Aug. 18. “HR (Human Resources) is conducting a thorough investigation including review of video and meeting with the student, parents and staff member. No staff member has officially resigned. No staff member has been terminated. No charges will be filed and no one has been arrested. The personnel investigation is ongoing.”

According to School Resource Officer H.M. Ward, when she arrived in the gymnasium, Coach Rahsaan Robinson was visibly upset.

“Before I could ask what was going on he (Robinson) made the statement, ‘I’m done. I’m done. I quit,’” Ward reported. “Mr. Robinson then walked toward his office and started packing up his personal belongings. Principal Acres then made contact with Mr. Robinson in his office where he handed her the school keys and told her he was done.”

Acres asked Robinson to write a statement about the incident, which he did before leaving the premises.
The unidentified male student also provided a written statement.

In Robinson’s statement, he claimed he acted defensively to prevent being attacked by the student.

“According to Coach Robinson’s statement he told (male student) to sit in the bleachers due to him and other students ‘play fighting.’ While (male student) was sitting on the bleachers Coach Robinson observed him playing on his phone. Coach Robinson then took the phone away for violating school conduct,” Ward said. “A few minutes passed by and (male student) got off the bleachers and Coach Robinson told him to sit back down and (male student) replied, ‘No.’ Coach Robinson stated that (male student) refused to sit back down and came toward him and in order to avoid any physical altercation he put his hands up to brace against (male student) attacking him.”

The student claimed he was sitting on the bleachers, got up to retrieve his bookbag and Robinson yelled at him to sit down. The student said he told Robinson he needed his bookbag and Robinson then got close to him and pushed him, Ward said.

After watching the school video footage of the incident, Ward said she observed inconsistencies with both parties’ statements.

“The video, starting at 12:14 p.m. on Aug. 17, 2022, revealed that Coach Robinson was having a discussion with (male student) at the bleacher’s then sat down on the bleacher’s and Coach Robinson walked away to speak to another student. The video shows Coach Robinson walking toward the gym exit with the student. Once Coach Robinson walked away, (male student) got up off the bleacher’s and started playing around with his classmates,” Ward said. “Coach Robinson returns to the gym and you could see him saying something and pointing toward the bleacher’s (sic). (Male student) went back toward the bleacher’s (sic) and Coach Robinson approached him in an aggressive manner. Coach Robinson upper body appeared to tense up with his arms down by his side and hands closed. Coach Robinson then chest bumped (male student) causing him to step backwards. Coach Robinson then placed his two hands on (male student) shoulder area and pushed him backwards. (Male student) then fell backward on the bleacher stairs and was able to catch himself with one hand behind him. Coach Robinson then walked away.”

The following day, Ward met with the student’s parents.

“I explained the law enforcement envolvement in this incident and asked if they had any questions. Both parents stated that they did not want to prosecute Mr. Robinson so as long as he not in the school around their child. Both parents signed a non prosecution form (sic all),” Ward said.

Dix was asked to clarify the conflicting statements from his office and Pugh.

“Because of statements he made yesterday, it was our understanding that he resigned,” Dix said. “I learned late this afternoon that he in face had not officially resigned. I apologize for any confusion this caused you and your readers.”

Pugh later said, “Staff member is on administrative leave. Has not resigned. Has not been terminated.”

The incident was documented by the SCSO as simple assault/simple battery. The GRIP has attempted to contact school officials to obtain clarification regarding what is considered redirection of a student.
GSCSS Superintendent Keith Simmons did not return a call made last Friday seeking that additional information.

Please consider financially supporting The GRIP.
The news you find in The GRIP is free for all. You’ll never be hindered by a paywall or limited to only a few articles each month. That’s because knowledge CANNOT be a commodity available only to those with the ability to purchase it.
While the news will always be free for all, it is far from free to produce. That’s why The GRIP needs your support.
Your support will enable The GRIP to continue to provide relevant news in your community and beyond. It’s quick and painless. Just click this link: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=16902623
All support will be greatly appreciated, whether a small one-time donation or recurring monthly gift.
Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: