LEESBURG, Ga. — Citing a lack of “probable cause” to support a warrant application, a Lee County Magistrate judge on Tuesday dismissed a criminal complaint against a paraprofessional special education teacher.
The warrant had been sought by the parents of a Lee County Middle School special-needs sixth-grader who contend their child was “manhandled” by a paraprofessional special education teacher earlier this month in the school gym.
Magistrate Jim Thurman said he believed there was no other course of action for the teacher, David Workman, to take in dealing with the autistic child.
“I don’t know what else could’ve been done in this situation,” Thurman said, addressing Preston and April Hogan, parents of 11-year-old Stone Hogan. “If the child had gotten run over and injured, you’d be suing (the paraprofessional).”
Reached later in the afternoon for comment, Preston Hogan was not happy with the hearing’s outcome or Thurman’s comments.
“This whole hearing was a circus,” Hogan said. “We’re very disappointed because we feel like Stone was not represented at all in this case. We were also offended that Judge Thurman stereotyped children with autism by saying they cannot be reasoned with like normal kids.
“We think the outcome was predetermined before we walked in the door.”
The Hogans contend Workman acted inappropriately when he dragged the child across the floor of the Lee County Middle School gym. They claim the incident caused bruising and was traumatic for the child.
“He is obviously relieved; he did his job,” Workman’s attorney, Eddy Meeks, said. “He was protecting the safety of the child and other children. The school investigated, and officials were satisfied that Mr. Workman was simply doing his job. And he did it well.”
During the warrant hearing, the Hogans presented three witnesses to the incident: two LCMS seventh-grade female students and a substitute teacher.
After the three testified, Meeks made a motion to dismiss and Thurman agreed and granted the motion.
The Hogans do not consider the case closed.
“We are not satisfied,” Preston Hogan said. “We will be seeking legal services in Atlanta from someone who specializes in legal matters involving special needs children.”