[UPDATE] Gadsden Co. School Instructor Charged with Hitting Student

By: La'Tasha Givens Email
By: La'Tasha Givens Email

Updated By: La'Tasha Givens 2-23 6: 00 P.M.

"I am looking forward to going back to work to be with the children in my classroom," says
Burnell White. She was suspend for several weeks from Stewart Street Elementary when a student accused her of hitting him on the head with a clip board causing a loose tooth to fall out.

The boy's mother showed WCTV medical documents describing how a head contusion was found when the child was examined.

The State Attorney's office dropped the battery charge because it could not find sufficient evidence to pursue the case.

"I don't feel like she was treated fairly. I think that it was a jump to conclusion, there wasn't a full investigation," says Barbara Hobbs, White's attorney.

Gadsden County Superintendent Reginald James says, "We're in the children business. Our job is to protect the child. That's what we do and so we certainly had to follow proper protocols and go ahead and suspend Ms White until the investigation was complete. Now that it is completed she can return to work."

"I don't' believe that it was something that needed to be happen. I know what happened and that didn't happen. But I understand protocol and that it had to happen to me," says White.

I reached out the boy's family but have not heard back from them yet.

The school district says White has not had any other complaints from students or parents before or after this accusation.

[UPDATE] 2-23 Noon --

New Developments in the case of a Gadsden County teacher charged with battery. She was accused of hitting a student in the head with a clipboard, causing a loose tooth to fall out.

Eyewitness News was live outside the Stewart Street Elementary School where Burnell White works. The charge of battery has been dropped because the State Attorney's office says it could not find sufficient evidence to pursue the battery charge. She was suspended for several weeks during the investigation, but has returned to work today.

We reached out to the family, but have not heard back from them yet. We also got a chance to speak with Miss White and her attorney. During the conversation, White says she feels vindicated that the charges have been dropped and is very happy to return to work today because teaching is what she loves.

We'll have more from that interview tonight on Eyewitness News.

"He had some scratches under his neck." Angela Phillips says almost two months ago her son came home and told her his instructor Burnell White at Stewart Street Elementary hit him.

"His teeth came out because she hit him on the head with a clip board," says Phillips.

The medical discharge paperwork from the hospital shows the eight year old had a scalp contusion and other injuries but doesn't list a likely cause.

"She should go to jail for what she did. I mean if I would had done it, they would put me in jail. Just because she is an educated teacher and behavior specialist, doesn't make her more right. She's wrong."

In the police report, Gadsden County deputies say White denies all of the allegations. Officials with the Gadsden County School Board say this is an isolated incident and is being handled according to protocol.

"Our primary interest is the student. So if the employee is found to be guilty, the employee will certainly be terminated," says Superintendent Reginald James.

White is charged with battery and a warrant has been issued for her arrest. School officials say she has been suspended with pay.

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  • by 47 years old Location: Tally on Feb 24, 2011 at 01:36 PM
    When I was in elementary school we had 'Punishment Time'. The kids who exercised the 'Strike 3 your it' rule were brought to the front of the Pod in front of 4 classes. It was explained why they were there and they had a chance to speak. 3 swats from a paddle typically was administered. It typically worked on the average kid who went home and got smacked or talked to by their parent as well. There is always 1 or 2 known problematic kids who always seemed to be getting swatted. We also said the Lord's pray or had a quiet moment before saying the pledge, hands crossed facing the American Flag. Now there isn't much a school can do to dicipline kids and it really shows in the disrespect often shown to teachers.
  • by Amy on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM
    She really has shown us all how to not just endure but overcome horrible adversity. She is a true leader who definitely leads by example. We are extremely fortunate to have her in our Community teaching our children. You can’t teach a teacher to be that kind of teacher. You can’t teach an employee to be that kind of employee. She is true asset to the Gadsden County School System. We are very bless to have her.
  • by Amy on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:05 AM
    Yes, I too thought her reputation would be harmed. I don't think that anymore. In fact, I think she showed an extraordinary amount of Character and grace. If anything her behavior in this situation has helped her reputation. I for one have a lot of respect for her. If she ran for office, I would vote for her. She is a true leader who leads by example. She is exceptional person and the students that have her are very fortunate. She has greatness.
  • by Undecided Location: Tally on Feb 24, 2011 at 07:39 AM
    Wonders, we have cameras on buses to monitor children.Cameras on street corners to catch red light runners.And cameras in most child day care centers. Wonders how our cities don't have the funds to have cameras in the classroom?What is more important a red light or our children?I have personally seen both sides in the Gadsden county school district ie: children being mistreated and teacher wrongfully accused.This is almost a daily thing there.As I walked into a Kindergarten classroom I saw a teacher with a child over her knee spanking her.I went straight to the principal,reported the incident,and the teacher was given a written repremand.Someone else witnessed the same teacher doing the same thing just months later and the teacher was suspended for 2 weeks.This teacher is still working in the same school.So,I do feel that something needs to be done in the Gadsden county school district.Because not all children are liars and not all teachers are abusers.Videos are worth a thousand words.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 24, 2011 at 05:14 AM
    Big D, and Mike, Both of you are exactly right. I have seen this happen before, and the teacher has her reputation harmed just by the accusation. All because someone sees this as a way to get a check. I'm not saying that this doesn't happen, but a lot of false accusations are out there.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 24, 2011 at 05:04 AM
    getting hit in the head and having a tooth fall out doesn't make any since unless he were to be hit in the jaw. mama just wants a quick fix to pay her bills and kids are always running into things or falling so that bruise could've come from anywhere. God forbid anybody take an exam of my one yr olds head. nobody is hitting him but he sure does fall on that sucker a lot!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 24, 2011 at 04:29 AM
    Mrs White, you are a class act. To be accused and then have the character to reach out to your accuser shows a lot of grace. Your character, your action at what must of been the lowest point in your life shows you are an exceptional human being. We all could learn something from you.
  • by JM on Feb 23, 2011 at 06:37 PM
    I grew up in Gadsden County. The kid probably deserved several more whacks on the head followed by a mouthful of Dial soap.
  • by Mike Location: Quincy on Feb 23, 2011 at 03:19 PM
    Sue...sue...sue...get rich.
  • by For the children on Feb 23, 2011 at 03:00 PM
    Mrs. White I am on your side and a lot of others are too. Thank-you for what you do for our children and our community. Everyday you get out of bed and go to work to better our children's lives and our community. You are a hero and I appreciate you and all the others that do what you do. Thank-you. You make a differnce in people lives. The world is a better place because of you. Please don't stop being you. You are a true gift to us and I appreciate you and am thankfull to you and all the other people that work for the education system. That includes the janitors, the bus drivers, the cafeteria staff and the secretaries. Thank-you all. You all are all hero. Thank-you
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