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

Neighbors support Phenix City teacher charged with abuse

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

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

Pettway is accused of taping two ofher students together by their forearms because they weren't gettingalong. 

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

She faces a grand jury at a laterdate.  As of Friday, no hearing had been scheduled in Russell CountyCourt.

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

"She reported it herself, sothat should tell you a lot about her character there, that she would have neverdone anything intentionally knowing that it would have gotten where it's attoday," said Jerry Barnes.

Barnes is a professional dog trainerand says he often encounters Pettway in the neighborhood when he is walking hisdogs.  Based on what he knows about her personality, he doesn't think thisteacher would purposely want to harm a child.

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

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

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

We tried to get in contact withPhenix City teacher, Sierra Pettway and we got no answer. Her neighborsare hoping that the charges are dropped or reduced and want this teacher to begiven a second chance. 

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