Parents claim a pattern of teacher abuse - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Parents claim a pattern of teacher abuse

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January 26, 2005

Albany-- Suspended Radium Springs Middle School teacher Michael Lewis surrendered to deputies Wednesday morning and was booked for simple battery. Lewis is charged with grabbing a student around the neck at school.

Now, other parents are coming forward with complaints of widespread abuse by teachers that, they say, isn't being addressed by the principal.

Shawn Alley saw our story on teacher Michael Lewis' arrest, and said something needs to be done at Radium Middle.

Alley said last year he reported a teacher hitting a student. "I saw a teacher actually take a kid's wrist and bend it back up into his body. He snatched and pulled away from her.She reached out and slapped him on top of the head, and not at a little peck. And then she hit him in the chest, right up above the heart."

Alley says he reported the abuse to Principal Geraldine Hudley, and nothing was done. "To start off with the teacher denied it, and then after a couple of days she started apologizing," Alley said.

Superintendent Dr. Sally Whatley said "We would never, never choose to overlook a situation or ignore a situation."

Dr. Sally Whatley stands by Principal Hudley. "To say she ignores parents or ignores concerns, that is not the case."

Asked why Ms. Hudley would cover up for the teachers, Alley relied, "That's a good question, Why?"

Principal Hudley refused comment, telling us to speak with the School System attorney. Dr. Whatley said "I wish those parents would come to me now."

Shawn Alley says he did. "I wish I could get my son out of that school," Alley said.

Doug Dent, the parent of the student Michael Lewis was arrested for grabbing, says he reported the case in October to Principal Hudley. Dent did not want to go on camera, but said after repeated complaints to the principal and school administrators, he went to the police.

After their investigation, Lewis was arrested and suspended.

The father of the student Michael Lewis is charged with abusing has hired a lawyer, and is considering a lawsuit.

posted at 4:45PM by dave.miller@walb.com