Local News

Teaching assistant charged with simple assault on 12-year-old student

Posted May 23, 2014

— A Tabor City Elementary School teaching assistant was charged Wednesday with a count of simple assault after police say she left bruises on a 12-year-old student.

Capt. Russell Conway with the Tabor City Police Department said Friday that the girl had been talking during computer class and that Melissa Blackwell grabbed the student by the throat after telling the girl at least once before to be quiet.

That caused some minor bruising that lasted more than 12 hours later, Conway said.

Blackwell told police she was trying to be playful while also getting the girl to stop talking and that she didn't mean to hurt the child.

Columbus County Schools Superintendent Alan Faulk said Blackwell, who has worked for the school system for more than 23 years, has been suspended without pay.

"Columbus County Schools regrets the incident occurred and does not condone this type of employee behavior," he said in an email.


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  • Cathy Teasley May 23, 2014
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    Simple assault=grabbing a minor child by throat? Seriously??!!

  • "Screen Name-8/20" May 23, 2014

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    It has nothing to do with a child not "listening" and that's something adults have to start getting through their thick heads.

    The kids hear (listen) quite fine; they hear and choose to disobey.

    Telling a child they aren't listening when they are and choose to disobey confuses them and leads to them giving even less attention to an adult giving them instructions.

    Call it like it is - disobediance, and treat it however you would deal with a child disobeying. Then the confusion between the two would start to end.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" May 23, 2014

    She grabbed a kid by the throat and didn't mean to hurt her? In what world!?!
    Charge her with assault and battery...plain and simple.

  • Sumo Vita May 23, 2014

    While assault cannot be condoned, the over-protective "my child MUST be a saint" attitude most parents have, shouldn't be condoned either. The student clearly had no respect for authority if they hadn't listened earlier.

    As for minor bruising that "lasted 12 hours later".. it's hard to imagine that a teaching assistant would grab a child "by the throat". The shoulder, maybe.. I suspect the parents are seeing dollar signs everywhere they look - school systems are too easy to sue. I think the teaching assistant's story is much more believable.