Education

Northside High teacher put on leave after fight

WARNER ROBINS -- A Northside High School teacher of 23 years is on paid administrative leave following a fight that’s under investigation by the Houston County school system and the Warner Robins Police Department.

Beth McLaughlin, a school system spokeswoman, said she couldn’t discuss the altercation, which took place during a class taught by social studies teacher Daniel Kelly.

“It’s still under investigation, and until the investigation is complete, we won’t have any information to release about the incident itself,” McLaughlin said Wednesday.

Kelly has an opportunity to schedule a hearing appealing his administrative leave before the school board, which next meets Tuesday. He hasn’t done so, McLaughlin said.

She said she didn’t know of any injuries from the incident.

A video being circulated on social media appears to show an altercation in a classroom. Its authenticity has not been confirmed, though the Houston County school system and the city police department confirmed they are reviewing at least one video.

An adult in the video appears to say, “Let’s go, little man.” Seconds later, the video shows an adult on top of another person, and a young voice said, “Coach, coach, back up, coach” as students rush to the fight. Other voices ask the coach to back away.

Kelly, who also is a wrestling coach, has been an educator for 26 years, most of that time at Northside High, McLaughlin said.

Videos purporting to show the altercation have not been verified by the school district, she said.

“We have seen some of the videos that have been shared on social media and shared with the media,” McLaughlin said. “We do not have our own video that was created with a video camera from the school.”

McLaughlin said more information would be released.

“When an investigation is incomplete, we’re not going to release information about it. ... We want to be careful and deliberate,” she said.

Warner Robins police spokeswoman Jennifer Parson said she doesn’t have a timeline for when her agency’s investigation would be complete, because so many people were involved or were witnesses.

“With a classroom full of students, it’s difficult to do that in a timely manner,” she said. “We have detectives on it. We are diligently interviewing as we speak.”

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