Neighbors support Phenix City teacher charged with abuse - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Neighbors support Phenix City teacher charged with abuse

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PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

People in the neighborhood who know Phenix City teacher Sierra Pettway well want to speak on her behalf.  

Pettway is accused of taping two of her students together by their forearms because they weren't getting along. 

She reported her actions to the principal of Phenix City Intermediate and was immediately suspended.  She was later arrested and taken to jail for two counts of willful abuse of a child.

She faces a grand jury at a later date.  As of Friday, no hearing had been scheduled in Russell County Court.

One man says he thinks the charges she is facing are too severe for the offense.

"She reported it herself, so that should tell you a lot about her character there, that she would have never done anything intentionally knowing that it would have gotten where it's at today," said Jerry Barnes.

Barnes is a professional dog trainer and says he often encounters Pettway in the neighborhood when he is walking his dogs.  Based on what he knows about her personality, he doesn't think this teacher would purposely want to harm a child.

"The concept of what she was in the process of doing was definitely not attempting or even trying to be abusive in any form- that I know for sure," said Barnes.

Another man, Ricky Patterson, says he has lived next to Pettway her entire life and watched her grow up.  He has never seen her behave questionably around children before.

"I've seen her around my grandkids, her little brother, and all the kids in our neighborhood- she's around them.  And she is pretty good with kids.  I don't believe she intentionally meant to hurt anybody," said Patterson. 

We tried to get in contact with Phenix City teacher, Sierra Pettway and we got no answer. Her neighbors are hoping that the charges are dropped or reduced and want this teacher to be given a second chance. 

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