Friday, May 22, 2009

GA: Two Cherokee Co. Educators Charged With Cruelty to Children

Posted By: Marcita Thomas
Posted By: Paul Crawley
Updated 5/18/2009 7:25:27 PM

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- Woodstock High School special education teacher Laurie Peavy had nothing to say as she left the Cherokee County Jail Monday afternoon with a sweat shirt draped over her head and got into a car with a friend.

Peavy, 44, had just regained her freedom under a $60,000 bond after being arrested Monday morning on two counts each of false imprisonment and child cruelty.

She's accused of duct taping a 17-year-old autistic boy to a chair in her classroom last year and forcing a 17-year-old blind girl to stay under her desk, both apparently as punishment.

Her classroom paraprofessional, Nancy Creek, 49, was also arrested for allegedly participating in the boy's duct taping.

Cherokee County's Sheriff says they began investigating the case one week ago after another special education teacher and parapro team at Woodstock High reported the incidents.

The second pair of apparently came forward after learning that the same students were about to be reassigned to Peavy's classroom.

Sheriff Roger Garrison said the second pair were bound by law to have reported the alleged abuses when they happened last year, but he said they will not face criminal charges since they are needed to testify against Peavy and Cheek.

However, Cherokee County School system spokesman Mike McGowan said the second pair of teachers could still face possible disciplinary action for not coming forward sooner.

McGowan also said Peavy and Cheek will probably lose their jobs after an internal administrative investigation by the school system.

"We're obviously, as a school district, extremely disappointed that these allegations came to light," McGowan said, "especially in a district that is annually awarded for meeting and exceeding state targets in special education."

He said Peavy joined the Cherokee County School System in the fall of 1997, teaching first at Cherokee High and then Woodstock High, and that Cheek joined in the fall of 2001.

At last word, Cheek was still waiting to bond out of jail. Late Monday a magistrate judge reduced her original bond of $30,000 down to $22,000.

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