Family of Bainbridge student speaks out about abuse allegations

Family of Bainbridge student speaks out about abuse allegations
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - The family of a Bainbridge student with autism is speaking out, saying more needs to be done to hold the teachers accused of knowing about their son's abuse accountable.

A classroom surveillance video showing what investigators said is Avondika Cherry, a special education teacher, hitting a 6-year-old student multiple times.

WARNING: The video may be hard for some viewers to watch.

For the family of that little boy, it's heartbreaking to see.

Latoya Martin and Terecel Murrell said the phone call they received in late October about the incident was something as a parent you never want to experience.

"She used the word 'hit' several times, all I kept saying is I want to see the video," said Martin.

For them it was even more shocking, knowing that the assault investigators said happened several weeks earlier.

"I was in clear view of that camera, I forgot I was in the class, I forgot I was in full view of the camera, I forgot this was someone else's child, I forgot he was a teacher, I forgot he was a student," said Cherry on classroom camera footage.

That second video showing three teachers, one of which is Cherry, talking openly about the incident was pulled from the classroom camera the next day, October 10.

Investigators said the other two have been identified as Melissa Williams-Brown and Phyllis Rambo.

"I know the other teacher who is Ms.Phyllis Rambo, she grew up with us, my momma practically raised her. I see her every day and not one time did she come tell me that my son was being abused at school," explained Martin.

Thomas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dusty Kornegay said both Williams-Brown and Cherry have since been fired from their positions in the school system.

Rambo is still under review.

"I just found out today that she just returned back to work, how am I supposed to be, this is a place where I'm supposed to trust people. I really don't trust them anymore," said Martin.

The school grounds that this incident happened at is technically a Decatur County School system building. Although, the pathways program in this region is headed up by Thomas County Schools.

Kornegay released the following statement on Thursday:

The employment status of the third employee who did not witness the incident but who heard an account of it the following day remains under review as she failed to make a timely report of the incident as she is required to do as a mandated reporter.  A final decision regarding her continued employment status will be made soon.

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