Teacher accused in student beating out on bond

June 21, 2010 9:35:50 PM PDT
Two teachers and two administrators have been charged with a crime because of this video of a student beaten in class. But what the video doesn't show could determine the outcome of the case.

Now, the teacher on that video is out on bond, charged with injury to a child, and her lawyer says the video doesn't tell the whole story.

The lawyer of Sheri Lynn Davis says the teacher was overwhelmed at the time of the event. It's significant because her feelings will be relevant to the case.

The violence between Davis, the teacher, and 13-year-old Isaiah Johnson, the student, goes on for more than a minute. Yet what took place inside Jamie's House Charter School will have lifelong consequences, said Johnson's attorney. Johnson said investigators said they're holding Davis and others accountable.

"They didn't just stop at the teachers; they went up the chain and got investigators who were involved in this coverup," Attorney Brant Stogner said.

Davis was charged on Monday with injury to a child, a third degree felony. Another teacher, Gabriel Hahn Moseley, who allegedly witnessed the beating, Principal David Jones and Superintendent Ollie Hilliard are all charged with failure to report child abuse, a class a misdemeanor.

The charges are expected to be vigorously denied by the principal and superintendent.

"What cover up could there possibly be?" said Sue Davis, a spokeswoman for the charter school. "They've been totally open; they've given out every record; we've talked to every media that asked to talk to us."

Davis says Hilliard and Jones have cooperated fully with criminal authorities and the Texas Education Agency.

Davis' attorney, Lisa Andrews, says the teacher was overwhelmed and was in a chaotic situation at the time of the event. Andrews said she can prove Davis' actions -- no matter how hard to watch -- were legally justified.

"Because there are many circumstances that the law says, where actions are justified, depending on the circumstances that exist, and we believe this circumstance is one of them," Andrews said.

Davis is expected to plea not guilty. She's free on $30,000 bond.

The District Attorney's Office says all the defendants have the opportunity to turn themselves in voluntarily.

The state did its own investigation into Jamie's House Charter School and last month the TEA assigned a conservator to oversee the campus. Dr. Shirley Johnson has the authority to overrule the superintendent. Her goal will be to help the school develop discipline and management.


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