Rutherford County Schools has released the following statement concerning the employee suspensions at Walter Hill Elementary School.
Because of an influx of speculation involving the suspension of two employees at Walter Hill Elementary School, Rutherford County Schools wishes to provide an update regarding the current status of the situation.
In November 2019, law enforcement investigated multiple reports from concerned employees at the school about an alleged physical altercation that had occurred between the school’s principal, a teacher and a student. After reviewing video footage of the incident, detectives initiated charges of child abuse against both employees. The Department of Children Services also undertook an investigation.
As such, both employees were placed on an investigative suspension until those investigations are concluded. The school system has been notified by both the Department of Children’s Services and the District Attorney’s office that their investigations remain open and are continuing, despite a ruling earlier this week by a General Sessions court.
While the school district cannot complete its internal investigation until the other investigations have concluded, video footage appears to show the student was not attempting to harm themself, any other students or any employees at the time of the incident. However, the footage does appear to show the two employees physically dragged the student off a couch in the office when the student did not appear to be aggressive or threatening to anyone and further shows the two employees then dragging the student by his legs and arms across school floors through multiple hallways to a classroom. The video appears to show the two employees dragged the student approximately 180 yards – the equivalent of almost two football fields in distance.
The school system’s investigation has not concluded given the other agencies have not completed their investigations and proceedings.
As the District Attorney’s Office and Department of Children’s Services continue ongoing investigations, the two employees remain suspended. We know this is a difficult and passionate situation for the Walter Hill school community, but the district cannot make any additional comments at this time to preserve the integrity of the investigations.