Former Monroe County teacher accused of child cruelty

A former Monroe County special education teacher is scheduled to turn herself in to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office following allegations of cruelty to children, officials said.

The sheriff’s office issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Janice Ricks on two counts of cruelty to children, said Allison Selman-Willis, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

Selman-Willis said investigators are keeping some of the details of the case quiet until it’s turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, but one of the counts involved “thumping” a child.

“Some of the other children had marks on them,” Selman-Willis said.

Ricks, who resigned from her teaching job at T.G. Scott Elementary School a couple of weeks ago, taught special needs children ages 3-5.

Jackson Daniel, assistant superintendent for the school system, said he isn’t able to discuss aspects of the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

He said Ricks began working for the school system as a full-time employee during the 2005-06 academic year, but had worked with the system before that as part of the Middle Georgia Regional Educational Services Agency.

Daniel wouldn’t comment on whether there had been previous complaints against Ricks, nor if there have been subsequent complaints since her resignation.

Selman-Willis said another employee of the school system noticed the bruising on the children and reported it to the school system, which brought in the sheriff’s office to investigate Jan. 20.

“This is an involved case,” Selman-Willis said. “We’ve interviewed a lot of people, and we are still investigating. ... But the case is not closed.”

Selman-Willis wasn’t aware of previous complaints against Ricks.

Selman-Willis said anyone who has information about the case could still contact sheriff’s investigator Allen Henderson at (478) 994-7287.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.