Russell County: Student says teacher choked him

By Chauncy Glover - bio | e-mail 

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - School officials say an 8th grade student at Russell County Middle School left the nurses office Wednesday evening with a sore neck that had turned red.

"The student is saying the teacher put his hands around his neck and choked him," says school superintendent, Dr. Yvette Richardson.

Students who saw the incident say, band teacher Gerald Nelson allegedly grabbed the student by his arm and then choked him to the ground.

After interviewing other witnesses and the victim, now the school board is investigating.

"We're trying to determine the actions at this point related to the school policy," says Richardson.

Dr. Richardson says the school district takes situations like these very seriously and that's why the teacher has been taken out of the classroom and put on administrative leave.

"Pending the results of the investigation, we wanted to do that so it would be evident first of all, that children our first and we want them in a safe environment and also the teacher," she adds.

Dr. Richardson says there's a thin line when it comes to student discipline and that's why she says the school district is investigating carefully to make the right decision.

"We know children can get out of hand, however the principal on his or her designee has the authority in Russell County to use corporal punishment, however, teachers are encouraged not to touch students," she adds.