Documents: Teacher had previous domestic violence arrest

ALBANY -- A Dougherty County School System teacher accused of punching a 14-year-old female student after she was in custody of police has a previous arrest for allegedly striking his wife, according to court documents.

Antonio Renard Richardson, 33, of Albany, has been charged with misdemeanor battery, obstruction of police and disorderly conduct after an incident Wednesday at the South Georgia Regional Achievement Center.

School officials say that Richardson was initially attacked by a 14-year-old female student and that police were called to handle the situation. But when the girl was in custody, Richardson is believed to have pushed his way past a police officer and struck the student.

He bonded out of the Dougherty County Jail Thursday on a $3,500 bond, jail officials say.

According to court records, though, the incident at the alternative school wasn't his first time Richardson has been in handcuffs.

Warrants filed in Dougherty County State Court show that Richardson was charged April 3, 2007 with simple battery, after police say he struck his wife "causing swelling on her forehead, under her left eye, bruising her left arm, her right hand and both sides of her neck."

The case, which documents show was slated to go to trial in February of 2008, was dropped by prosecutors when Richardson's wife refused to testify, freeing Richardson and closing the case, court clerk officials say.

While Richardson was never convicted of the battery charge, school system policy requires teachers to report any arrest to a supervisor immediately after it occurs. School system officials could not say whether Richardson ever reported his arrest in April 2007 to a supervisor due to the fact that he is under investigation. However, The Herald did make a request under the Georgia Open Records Act for any documents relating to prior disciplinary actions in Richardson's personnel file.

Currently, Richardson has been removed from the classroom environment and has been placed on administrative leave pending an administrative hearing, DCSS Public Information Director R.D. Harder said.