The principal and a teacher at Walter Hill Elementary School who were charged with misdemeanor child abuse are accused of dragging the student through the school by his feet, and it was captured on video, according to court and police documents.
Helen Campbell, the principal of Walter Hill Elementary School, and Bonnie Marlar, a teacher at the school, were charged with misdemeanor child abuse/neglect/endangerment, according to the affidavits of complaint and arrest warrants filed with the Rutherford County General Sessions Court/Judicial Commissioner.
Det. Andrea Knox of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office filled out the affidavits. The affidavits said investigation showed that on Nov. 4, Marlar and Campbell allegedly dragged the elementary-aged boy “by his feet through Walter Hill Elementary.” The child sustained head injuries, the affidavit said.
The alleged incident was captured on video, the affidavits said.
“Upon speaking with Ms. Campbell, she admitted to helping Ms. Marlar drag (the student) through the school,” the affidavits said.
Campbell and Marlar have a General Sessions hearing scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 12, according to the court.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said it could not comment on whether an SRO was present at school or involved in the situation due to the ongoing investigation.
James Evans, communications director of Rutherford County Schools, on Tuesday said the video is not public record since it contains a student’s image, nor is there a way to blur out the student’s identity to protect privacy.
“The matter remains under investigation and we are not commenting further at this time,” Evans said.
On Saturday, Evans issued this statement:
“Hello Walter Hill Elementary School parents,
This is James Evans with Rutherford County Schools. I’m sorry to bother you on a Saturday, but I have some unfortunate information to share with you. Ms. Helen Campbell, the principal of Walter Hill Elementary School, and Bonnie Marlar, a teacher at the school, have been charged with misdemeanor child abuse by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department.
As a school district, we have placed both on suspension pending the outcome of an investigation.
We understand this comes as shocking information and that you want more details, but we are not able to release additional information at this time because of the ongoing law enforcement investigation. However, we want you to know that student safety is of the utmost concern, which is why we have acted quickly to this situation until it can be resolved.
The school will be open Monday and will carry on with normal operations with an interim principal in place. Thank you again for supporting the school and working with us through this situation.”
According to her biography on the school website, Campbell has been Walter Hill’s principal at least four years. She taught American history and government, and was assistant principal at Cedar Grove Elementary School.