Most disagree with school board - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Most disagree with school board

October 12, 2005

Albany-- Last week, Delvin Hawkins, a health occupations teacher at Monroe High School, was arrested and charged with having sex with a student in his custody.

He was suspended until Monday, when the Dougherty County School Board unanimously voted to reinstate Hawkins, saying there was not enough evidence to support the allegations.

But what is the evidence and how do you feel about his reinstatement? Earlier today, we posted a poll asking viewers if they believed Hawkins should return to the classroom?

The results of our poll were not in agreement with the school board's decision.
Some of you agreed with the ruling: One viewer wrote: "We must remember that we are innocent until proven guilty and not guilty because we are accused. I know they did not return someone who would endanger students they are sworn to protect." Another wrote: "I think if there was not enough evidence. Mr. Hawkins should have been allowed to return to work."

But many of you said, regardless of the evidence presented before the School Board, the charges filed against the teacher hold enough ground to suspend him.

One viewer wrote: "If there was enough evidence for criminal charges to be brought then it's likely that there is enough evidence for his suspension." Another said, "If the girl can describe underclothing found, something inappropriate was happening." One of you said, "Mr. Hawkins has been accused, but not convicted. I think he should be suspended with pay until the truth is known. I would not want him around my child, yet at the same time I would not want him to be hurt by what may be a false accusation."

District Attorney Ken Hodges says he was shocked by the School Board's ruling. He says, "I am appalled by that decision. I think it's a travesty and I think the school board ought to be concerned about the safety of the kids in the classroom."

As of 4:30 this afternoon, 71 people responded to our online poll. 72% of you believe Hawkins should not have returned to the classroom. 13% of you think he should have.

One note: None of the responses we received said Hawkins should be fired, only that he should be suspended.

But what was the evidence? In the search warrant filed with the Clerk of Court Wednesday afternoon, it says the victim described Hawkins as wearing a pair of blue underwear with a white band. They were found in his home. The victim also described a black bag, keys to the utility room where she claims they had sex and Hawkins cell phone, all recovered at his residence.

District Attorney Ken Hodges says more evidence is being gathered. "There is more than ample evidence in this case to believe what the allegations occurred. In this particular case, Judge Salter and Judge Lockette, a Superior Court and State Court Judge have both made a finding of probable cause, because one of them issued a search warrant and the other issued an arrest warrant."

After Monday's hearing, Hawkins attorney Maurice King said the charges against his client should be dismissed.

Hodges says there is no chance that that will happen. Hodges also says he plans to meet with members of the school board, about how they can better handle cases like this in the future.

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