White Station principal, assistant principal face charges - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

White Station principal, assistant principal face charges

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Criminal charges have been filed against the principal and assistant principal of White Station High School for their alleged failure to report an assault against a student last month.

According to District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, principal David Mansfield and assistant principal Eric Harris have been charged with Violation of Duty to Report.

According to investigators, on September 18, 2009, a 17-year-old female student was the victim of a beating by multiple students on campus. According to an affidavit, a witness found the student "on the floor in the fetal position." The witness said the student had "multiple injuries that were bleeding," and that she was “crying too hard” to say what happened to her.

According to police, the school did not immediately report this incident to them.

"My hope is that administrators and teachers who become aware of sexual assaults, or like in this case physical assaults...they must report that incident," Gibbons said Monday.

In a September interview, Mansfield said the decision not to contact police was a "judgement call."

"We made the best judgement call we could based on the information we had," he said.

A press release from the D.A.'s office says under Tennessee law, "any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury...shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality...Such report is to be made either to the juvenile court judge, the department of children’s services, or law enforcement."

The charges come just months after superintendent Kriner Cash asked Gibbons to produce a video for school district staff, explaining their obligation to report all crimes.  But Gerald Darling, Chief of Security for Memphis City Schools, said he was confident the majority of teachers and administrators are reporting crimes correctly.

"At no instance has anyone been told not to report an incident, and if we find that is occurring we'll deal with that appropriately," Darling said.

In this case, police say evidence was cleaned up by the time the victim's parents called them. So far, only one of a group of female students suspected in the attack has been charged.

Both principals face fines of up to $2,500 if convicted of not reporting the assault.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Powered by Frankly