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Alcovy teacher arrested on battery charges
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A special education teacher and a paraprofessional at Alcovy High School were arrested and charged Thursday afternoon with cruelty to children in the first degree and simple battery, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Derrick Roberts, a special education teacher, and paraprofessional Nanette Surber were brought in for questioning and charged after other teachers reported witnessing their actions against a severely handicapped, non-verbal student, said NCSO Investigator Sharon Stewart.

Stewart said it was possible there had been more than one incident of abuse, but that the case was still under investigation.

Sherri Viniard, Newton County School System director of public relations, said the central office is aware of the allegations.

"Another school employee came forward to express concerns about a possible incident that occurred in one of our classrooms," Viniard said. "The principal immediately initiated an investigation and the sheriff's office was called."

Viniard said NCSS employees are working closely with law enforcement officials on their investigation and notifying all parents of the students who might have witnessed the incident.

She said other personnel will cover the teacher's classes during the investigation.

"We want to assure parents," Viniard said, "that the well being of our students is our primary concern."

A fourth-grade special education teacher at Middle Ridge Elementary School resigned in February after being charged with a simple battery misdemeanor for slapping and rough handling a 11-year-old student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Jenny Thompson contributed to this story.