Pregnant teacher hit during scuffle

A pregnant Collins Elementary School teacher struck in the stomach during a student scuffle last week remained on leave Monday, Richmond County school officials said.

The fight, on Wednesday, involved two male special needs students, 12 and 13 years old, school system spokesman Louis Svehla confirmed Monday.

"While she (the teacher) was intervening, she was struck once in the arm and once in the stomach," Svehla said. "The students were then separated with the assistance of other teachers and taken to the front office."

Svehla said the teacher, whom he wouldn't name, was examined by the school nurse, who recommended she see her physician. As of Monday, Svehla said, the teacher had not returned to school. He said he wasn't aware of the baby's condition.

Svehla said both students, who also were not named, are being remanded to a tribunal, with suspensions pending. Neither student was injured. Officials said the 12-year-old is in the sixth grade; the 13-year-old's grade level was not known.

This year, Collins added seventh-grade classes, and next year it will add eighth-grade students, Svehla said.

There is no record of the fight or the teacher's injury being reported to school police or the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, according to officials of both agencies.

Lt. Richard Roundtree, of the school system's Department of School Safety, said he was unaware of the case.

Elementary schools don't have an officer assigned but can request that one be sent, he said.

Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said Monday that he also wasn't aware of the case.

Svehla said it's up to each elementary school's principal to decide when a board officer is needed. He also said the school system doesn't give direction as to whether a teacher should try breaking up a student fight.

"We don't tell them that they have to, and we don't have a rule against doing it," he said in an e-mail.

A message left Monday at Collins Elementary for its principal, Thomas Norris, wasn't immediately returned.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com