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Richmond County teacher resigns after reportedly admitting neglect over bullying allegations

Thursday, March 27, 2014 5:24 PM
Last updated Friday, March 28, 2014 1:35 AM
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A Richmond County elementary school teacher has resigned amid allegations that she ignored a 7-year-old girl’s repeated attempts to notify her of bullying.

According to an internal investigation report obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, Annette Lewis Mayo admitted during a meeting this month with Sue Reynolds Principal Cheri Ogden that she was aware of hitting and abuse the girl endured throughout the school year and that the bully had tormented other classmates.

The report states that instead of writing referrals, documenting reports and notifying parents, as required by state law and district policy, the first-grade teacher told the girl to “stop being a tattle” and to “sit down, it is quiet time.”

The teacher’s letter of resignation will be presented to the Board of Education in April.

Mayo told school investigators that she contacted the bullying boy’s parents and that after the girl was moved to another class in the first week of March, she documented his misconduct on a referral form. The paperwork was never submitted to the administration, reports show.

The Richmond County School System has referred its two-week investigation on Mayo to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for it to determine whether she violated the state educators’ code of ethics.

If claims of misconduct are confirmed, Mayo could, at worst, have her teaching certification revoked, said Cheryl Jones, the county’s assistant superintendent for elementary education.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission, between 3/1/2013 and 3/1/2014, opened Ethics cases against 1,036 educators or prospective educators state-wide. Twelve of those were for Columbia County, and eleven for Richmond County.

The girl’s family has retained an attorney to consider criminal charges against Mayo for accusations that she ignored reports the girl was shoved to the ground, called names, and hit in the chest several times to the point that welts appeared.

“They are not taking responsibility at all for what this teacher has done to our daughter and other children who were bullied in her class,” the girl’s mother, Ashley Proud, said about the school district. “They let her back into classroom while she was under investigation, knowing good and well she admitting to neglect.”

Mayo did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment. Sue Reynolds’ Web site shows she earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgia College and State University in 2003 and received a master’s degree from Walden University in 2008.

She was hired in Richmond County in 2010, Jones said.

“There is a balance that has to occur between academic rigor and ensuring there is a climate that is conducive to learning,” Jones said of immediately addressing incidents of classroom misconduct. “Those are key beliefs of the school system. When those beliefs are out of balance, there are challenges that must come.”

Mayo’s resignation marks the third time in the past month a Richmond County teacher has been in the news on suspicion of misconduct.

Last week, Vernell Morgan, who teaches at Glenn Hills High School, was charged with shoplifting and reckless conduct to a minor, after reportedly leaving a 3-year-old child alone in an Athens, Ga., hotel room.

Before that, Thurston Williams, a teacher at Tutt Middle School, was put on leave for cutting a student’s shirt with scissors. Williams said he was joking when he snipped the boy’s clothing.

In 2011, the state passed a law requiring all school systems to incorporate anti-bullying policies into student codes of conduct. Included in Richmond County guidelines is a line requiring school staffers to “promptly respond upon personally witnessing a bullying incident or upon receipt of any bullying report.”

Jones said system administrators rarely are involved in handling school incidents, however, and the Georgia Department of Education said it has no involvement in teacher misconduct related to bullying or any way of verifying whether a school system is following rules.

The department does not collect data on resignations or disciplinary actions against teachers and other staff members, said Jeff Hodges, the state’s safe and drug-free schools program specialist.

“All teachers, principals, and other school staff members are employed by the local school system, not the Georgia Department of Education,” Hodges said in an e-mail. “Therefore, the Georgia Department of Education has no authority over the conduct of teachers and other school staff members. Formal complaints against school staff members should be submitted to the local school superintendent and the local school board which is the governing body of that school district.”

Ogden told investigators she conducted about 10 observations in Mayo’s class and never witnessed any such abuse. Jones also said she was unaware of any other complaints concerning the teacher.

Proud said she is happy her daughter was moved to another class but upset that she had to demand it.

Reports show that Richmond County Assistant Solicitor Nancy Johnson and Probate Judge Harry James reviewed the case but didn’t find enough probable cause or had jurisdiction to issue a warrant.

“You’re dealing with a child who was harmed both physically and emotionally,” Proud said. “Our daughter finally got hurt enough where she unloaded and told us everything, but what if the other children are not that brave?”

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Little Lamb
44976
Points
Little Lamb 03/27/14 - 05:44 pm
6
2
Nobody Wins

Plenty Lose

Little Lamb
44976
Points
Little Lamb 03/27/14 - 05:49 pm
7
2
Off The Hook

From the story:

The [Georgia Department of Education] does not collect data on resignations or disciplinary actions against teachers and other staff members, said Jeff Hodges, the state’s safe and drug-free schools program specialist. “All teachers, principals, and other school staff members are employed by the local school system, not the Georgia Department of Education,” Hodges said in an e-mail. “Therefore, the Georgia Department of Education has no authority over the conduct of teachers and other school staff members. Formal complaints against school staff members should be submitted to the local school superintendent and the local school board which is the governing body of that school district.”

Well, isn't that convenient. The Georgia Department of Education wants to meddle in every other aspect of public education except bullying.

nocnoc
40591
Points
nocnoc 03/27/14 - 06:03 pm
8
6
Lawyers win,

Bullied girl's mom collects a check.
Typically, as I understand, the $$$ gets spent in a year.

Bullied girl gets counseling help.

Bully gets wrote up and gets counseling.

DFACS get's called in to look into Bullies home life.

Bully has an documented excuse for life, so when he gets arrested in 10 or 12 years for aggrieved assault his lawyer will bring up he had a bad childhood.

In 10-12 years the Bullied girl either becomes a Bully herself,
or learns to stand up for herself, and/or has relationship problems.
etc.....

Even after everyone gets something, the hurt will still be there.

We all have had a bully (kids, teens, parent, family, adults and/or bosses) in our lives, some work it out, some take the whipping until they can turn the tables.

Any bets we hear the Bullies Mom-ma "Not my baby speech." before this is all over?

KSL
125294
Points
KSL 03/27/14 - 10:31 pm
4
8
What was the race of the

What was the race of the child bullied and the boy bullying? I think that is significant as far as the teacher goes.

KSL
125294
Points
KSL 03/27/14 - 10:33 pm
8
5
As much as the beating up on

As much as the beating up on the black race by whites in previous times needed to be stopped, the opposite needs to be stopped now.

iaaffg
1931
Points
iaaffg 03/28/14 - 04:50 am
9
2
does any real teaching get

does any real teaching get done in schools anymore? it seems a crap shoot at best. i wouldn't want to be a teacher, no way, no how, not in this country in this day and age. they are expected to be not only a teacher but also a parent, a social worker, a psychiatrist, a spiritual mentor, a life coach, AND have eyes in the back, sides, and top of their heads, along with maintaining complete objectivity at all times during their shift of overseeing 25+ kids. this is insanity. what other job expects this of their workers? none that i can think of, yet they are paid pittances, treated like dirt if they so much as show any individuality at all, and put under the gun at any little infraction at which someone wants to scream 'not fair!' i don't blame her for resigning. if i were this lady, i would run, not walk, as far away from the public school system as i could possibly get.

InChristLove
22454
Points
InChristLove 03/28/14 - 05:25 am
12
3
I've read this article twice

I've read this article twice and understand not every detail can be printed and believe the teacher should have been more aggressive in this situation but I can't help but wonder why the mother of this child that was bullied "for a year" didn't do more. If my child is coming home with welts on her chest because some kid is hitting her in the chest and knocking her to the ground, my behind is either in the principals office or at the school district office. Why wait a year?

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 03/28/14 - 05:27 am
7
2
Hiring a lawyer?
Unpublished

Why not sue the parents of the bully? Everyone wants to blame the teachers and the school. Are you telling me that this child did not tell her parents for a whole school year? A lot of parents seem to think that school is a child care center but it is a lot of children and you can not blame the teachers for everything, bullying starts at home with the parents so quit blaming the teachers and the schools for your lack of knowledge of your child's actions. It is the parents that have to teach the children right from wrong not the schools.

seenitB4
84546
Points
seenitB4 03/28/14 - 05:49 am
3
3
When do they have tme to teach?

In todays world the teachers deserve at least $100,000 a year...unbelievable madness & control from others.....please just get back to teaching.

avidreader
3078
Points
avidreader 03/28/14 - 06:18 am
6
0
Bully!

I reported a bullying incident this year. The administration jumped on it immediately. The bully (fifteen-years old) has been a model student ever since. He fully understood the law after he was counseled by a principal. However, we were lucky that this child had a concerned parent and the parent supported the principal's decisions.

In many cases, bullying is difficult to detect. Kids can be very sneaky, and their victims usually don't complain to the teacher. It's tough sometimes.

corgimom
30462
Points
corgimom 03/28/14 - 07:06 am
4
3
Personally, if I were that

Personally, if I were that girl's parents, I would've told her after the first incident, "The next time that kid does something to you, kick him in --- -----. Do it as hard as you can."

You get the idea. And that would've stopped it all right there.

Been there. Done that. No problems after that.

Truth Matters
6523
Points
Truth Matters 03/28/14 - 07:38 am
3
2
"What was the race of the

"What was the race of the child bullied and the boy bullying? I think that is significant as far as the teacher goes."

Why, pray tell?

scooter2762
4562
Points
scooter2762 03/28/14 - 08:12 am
6
1
Sad that someone that is

Sad that someone that is there specifically for the children would so blatantly ignore a child's plea for help.

Marinerman1
4568
Points
Marinerman1 03/28/14 - 08:25 am
5
1
Teaching Getting Done

Being the husband of a teacher, I get to hear it all. I also get to see it all, when I attend a school function. The amount of teaching that gets done, is based upon the student mix. In schools/classes where you have motivated students, coupled with concerned parents, teaching gets done. Miss any of those components, and information transfer suffers. I agree with 'dickworth1', in that sue the bully's parents. Yes, the teacher may have been negligent, but she did not do the bullying. And as 'nocnoc' stated, we will want to watch what happens to the bully. I was bullied in high school, back when the Earth was still cooling. I would say that I am reasonably successful, and the bully, last I heard, worked for a guy, cleaning pools. Funny thing about Karma.

notsurprised
88
Points
notsurprised 03/28/14 - 08:49 am
2
2
Such quality schools in

Such quality schools in Richmond County.

corgimom
30462
Points
corgimom 03/28/14 - 08:55 am
4
3
Truth Matters, because now

Truth Matters, because now schools are supposed to treat black boys differently than the rest of the kids, because supposedly if they get suspended in school, that winds up with them going to prison.

Racial discrimination at its finest.

corgimom
30462
Points
corgimom 03/28/14 - 08:57 am
1
4
Scooter, you only hear one

Scooter, you only hear one side of the story in these reports.

Maybe there's two sides to this story- like, maybe the girl has been doing stuff to the boy, too.

I've seen that many a time. I've also seen where the teacher tells the "victim" to stay away from the "bullier", and then 5 minutes later, the "victim" is back with the "bullier".

Red Headed Step Child
4022
Points
Red Headed Step Child 03/28/14 - 09:05 am
5
0
Sometimes where there's smoke, there's fire

I will be the first to say that teachers have so much on their plates, it's amazing that they can get anything done. I have the utmost respect for them. That being said, with all the attention bullying has gotten over the years, if a child comes to you and reports a bully, it needs to be given its due. Nip a problem in the bud before it becomes a bigger one. To have a teacher disregard several attempts from a child to report it is disappointing. The parents certainly should be involved and I can promise you all it would take is ONE report of bullying from my child to be up at the school getting it addressed. It never would have gone a year before I took action.

InChristLove
22454
Points
InChristLove 03/28/14 - 09:10 am
1
2
Please TDer, seek help

Please TDer, seek help immediately. I appreciate you helping my points increase but your vindictiveness will eat away at you and make you grow old and bitter.

Red Headed Step Child
4022
Points
Red Headed Step Child 03/28/14 - 09:12 am
2
0
@avidreader

You're right - bullies are sneaky and the victims are often quiet. It's sitations like this one where a teacher doesn't appear to help that unfortunately reinforces to these kids that telling someone isn't going to help them. Kudos to you for doing the right thing and handling it appropriately!

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 03/28/14 - 09:13 am
4
7
The teacher is a bully

The teacher is a bully because she enabled it.

sand gnat
447
Points
sand gnat 03/28/14 - 09:13 am
2
4
qualified

Sounds as though the teacher was very qualified. After all, she had a masters degree. Every teacher I know has one. I am told you can get
one without a classroom and get a pay raise for having one. Must make
you qualified for any situation.

noxiousfumes
419
Points
noxiousfumes 03/28/14 - 10:16 am
7
0
As a former teacher in RCBOE

As a former teacher in RCBOE for 10 years, the teacher is at fault for not documenting the incidents. There are forms to complete and that is part of the job, just like reporting suspected child abuse. "When in doubt, fill it out", was my mantra, because my job was not to investigate, but to report so the investigation could take place. That way, I protected myself from situations such as this. Even if I knew the child was instigating the situation, I would do the paperwork. That is what teachers MUST do in the classroom today -- document, document, document!

lgr
189
Points
lgr 03/28/14 - 10:21 am
3
0
BULLIES

and what would all of you say if the girl that was being bullied had brought a gun to school and shot the bully? most of you think it is nothing until something really bad happens.

sewerbabe
71
Points
sewerbabe 03/28/14 - 12:30 pm
2
1
Articles like this just make me so sad.

There are no winners in the end. I will not pretend to predict the future but I do know the little girl will never want to go to school as she grows older. We can only pray she has the gift of resiliency and this won't happen. No one was her champion how lost and scared she must have been. Her parents should have jumped on this when the first sign of some type of abuse showed up. They were there and I'm more concerned about her home life it is the last bastion of refuge for her. Just sad!

jimmymac
36040
Points
jimmymac 03/28/14 - 12:51 pm
0
0
TEACHER
Unpublished

She didn't want to do her job and for that alone she should have been fired. They let her resign but she should lose her license to teach. The little girl was doing what she was supposed to do and the teacher was complicit with the bully by not doing anything about it. What was her motive? Lazy?

stuaby
3342
Points
stuaby 03/28/14 - 01:33 pm
0
0
@corgimom

"Personally, if I were that girl's parents, I would've told her after the first incident, "The next time that kid does something to you, kick him in --- -----. Do it as hard as you can."

That's excellent advice. The girl may or may not have had the nerve to do it though.

She also could have collected several strong allies and set up an ambush for the boy somewhere and inflicted maximum retribution. Of course, she's only 7 and this is a more advanced tactic.

stuaby
3342
Points
stuaby 03/28/14 - 01:39 pm
1
0
The question I have is: What

The question I have is: What is being done to the boy? I don't care what color he is. NOW is the time to put the fear of God into his little delinquent ash.

I wish they still paddled kids. I'd volunteer to do the paddling. It would be a looong time before he thought about doing this again.

Of course, nothing of sort will be done, and he'll go on to be a perpetual menace to society, probably. He'll wind up in prison and activists will keep on screaming about how we're putting too many people in prison.

Red Headed Step Child
4022
Points
Red Headed Step Child 03/28/14 - 02:31 pm
0
0
While kicking the kid in the

While kicking the kid in the bodgits sounds like a good idea, it would most likely result in the girl getting in trouble, not the boy. I'd have to say, that may be a risk I'd have to take. :) That girl needs to channel her inner "David Beckham" and go for the goal.

internationallyunknown
4022
Points
internationallyunknown 03/28/14 - 02:35 pm
0
0
A WHOOOOLE year?!? What kind

A WHOOOOLE year?!?

What kind of mother is that?

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