@JulieMontanaroW interviewing Rickards teacher who just had battery charges dropped against him
By Julie Montanaro
February 13, 2014
A teacher arrested for battery on a student just had those charges dropped.
We talked with teacher Earl Hankerson and the family of the teen who claims he went too far.
"He grabbed me by my jacket, he threw me on the car, and that's when I kept saying take your hands off me, don't touch me," Landon Wilson claimed.
That's how 15 year old Landon Wilson describes a confrontation with his teacher on January 28th.
"I wanted him to lose his job, I wanted him to go to jail and I wanted him fired...if he does it once, he'll do it again," the teen's mother Delicia Danzy said.
Rickards High School teacher Earl Hankerson was initially placed on administrative leave and arrested for misdemeanor battery. Thursday, the state attorney dropped those charges.
"The teacher does not need to be prosecuted, it was not a case of criminal intent and batter," State Attorney Willie Meggs said.
"I was upset at the student and the situation, but not to the point where I would hurt the student," Hankerson said.
Hankerson says the teen not only cussed him in class, but threatened to kill him that day. He says he told the teen to leave and then followed him outside to talk about it.
"It went awry and the student bagan to make threats toward my life that he was going to leave and come back," Hankerson said. "I began to try to restrain him and try to push him toward the office ... and I made the quick action, the swift action I thought in my mind was correct."
Hankerson is now waiting to see if he'll be reinstated in the classroom. The teen's family insists that should not happen.
"He should have been disciplined if he was doing that but discipline does not include being attacked," said the teen's grandmother Cynthia Danzy.
A Leon County Schools spokesperson says Hankerson will remain on leave until administrators can review the case.
The teen's family says they plan to withdraw him from the school anyway.
News Release: Leon County Schools
We have been notified that the criminal charges against Mr. Hankerson were dropped.
Mr. Hankerson’s status will remain in effect until an administrative review by the principal and administrators is complete. We anticipate a conclusion to this process in the next few days.
By: Julie Montanaro
February 13, 2014, 9:55am
Charges have been dropped against a Leon.County school teacher accused of battering a student outside Rickards High School.
The state attorney dropped the misdemeanor battery charges after reviewing a video tape and all the interviews in the case.
There is no evidence to support a charge of battery against Earl Hankerson, Meggs wrote in the order, "the intent of the teacher was to maintain order and insure the safety of the student in question and other students in the school."
Hankerson was placed on administrative leave after his arrest. We are trying to get a response from the school system.
Statement from Leon County Schools
We were aware of an incident on the Rickards campus in late January. We communicated with law enforcement as they conducted an investigation into the matter. Mr. Hankerson has been placed on administrative leave during this process.
**Mr. Hankerson has been an employee of LCS since 1997.
News Release: Leon County Sheriff's Office
Tallahassee, Fla. -- On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation into a disturbance that took place at Rickards High School between a teacher and a student.
Violent Crimes Detectives worked with school safety officials, conducted witness interviews and reviewed surveillance video in order to determine 39 year old Earl Hankerson III inappropriately grabbed a student who had been disruptive in class. Detectives confirmed that the student was told to leave the classroom after creating a disturbance.
As the student left the class, he exchanged words with Hankerson and then ran from him. Hankerson chased the student, caught him and physically held him against a parked vehicle. Detectives obtained a warrant for Hankerson’s arrest on February 7, 2014. Hankerson turned himself in at the Leon County Jail.