RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tennessee (WKRN) – Three years after a child with special needs was dragged down the hallway at Walter Hill Elementary School in Rutherford County, Tennessee, sheriff officials released footage of incident monitoring.
In late May, the Rutherford County School Board voted 4-2 to fire principal Helen Campbell, citing unprofessional conduct and dereliction of duty.
Surveillance video reportedly shows Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar with a non-compliant student at the desk. This leads to the two dragging the child by the feet down a nearly 600 foot hallway to a separate room for isolation.
“Ms. Campbell was an educator forced to make a decision with a student who was in a situation where the behavioral history indicated a problem was occurring, unfortunately, instead of meeting with Ms. Campbell and trying to find out why she moved the student, what our Principal of Schools did is watch a video, call the police and have them arrested,” said Scott Kimberly, Campbell’s attorney.
It is important to note that Rutherford County School Board policy states that a child may be restrained or moved to another location when such movement is necessary for the safety of the student or others. Even so, board director Bill Spurlock said Campbell failed to report the student’s detention and segregation and allegedly attempted to tamper with and/or destroy security camera footage from the school. school system.
According to the sheriff’s office, CCTV shows Campbell entering the library where the video server is stored. Other images shared with Nexstar’s WKRN show distorted and deleted portions of video.
“The reason this has what I would consider to be inconsistencies in evidence is that the state managed to recover all of the videos that Ms. Campbell managed to suppress allegedly of this incident, disregarding the fact that Ms. Campbell n doesn’t have the technological capability to access the server or delete these things,” Kimberly said.
All of this resulted in the loss of a job and criminal charges, including misdemeanor child abuse and tampering with evidence.
“To understand how this criminal case began, Ms Campbell was arrested and charged with the misdemeanor child abuse charge. We had a preliminary hearing where the state presented evidence through their lead detective and in that hearing the state did not present a single piece of evidence regarding this injured child of any kind as a result of this incident,” Kimberly said.
The original charges were eventually dropped, but Campbell would later be indicted by a grand jury on the same charges. She accepted a plea deal, although she maintains her innocence.
The plea also guarantees that she will not have a long-term criminal record.
The next step is an administrative hearing before an administrative judge. If Campbell doesn’t like the decision, she can, and according to her lawyer, will appeal.
For now, she remains suspended from her job.
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