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Decatur County School System investigating incident at Pathways Educational Program

A Thomas County School System employee is under investigation for assaulting a Seminole County student at Pathways Educational Program in Bainbridge.

The Decatur County School System, led by investigator Anthony Stubbs, is investigating the incident.

“Stubbs is involved because it occurred on our property,” Decatur County Superintendent Tim Cochran said. “We have our own jurisdiction just like the city and county do. That’s why our people are involved.”

Avondika Cherry allegedly hit a 6-year-old student on Oct. 9 in a classroom at Pathways. According to Thomas County Superintendent Dusty Kornegay, Cherry was recommended for termination shortly after the incident and then resigned.

Melissa Williams-Brown, a paraprofessional who was also in the classroom and witnessed the incident, was terminated because she failed to report it.

“Our employees have a duty to report both under the Georgia Educator Code of Ethics and a state law that requires school officials to report any type of abuse,” Kornegay said.

A third employee, parapro Phyllis Rambo, was told about the incident but not in the classroom when it happened. She has been disciplined, Kornegay said.

Cherry’s and Williams-Brown’s reports were submitted to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for further review.

Pathways Educational Program provides academic and social emotional instruction for students in need of special attention and serves more than 200 children across Southwest Georgia, including Decatur, Seminole, Colquitt and Thomas counties.