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Manchester school teacher charged with child abuse; placed on leave

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 9:59 am

College Street Elementary School teacher Gary Wilson Hawkins, 32, was booked into the Coffee County Jail on charges of child abuse Friday night.

Gary Hawkins

Gary Hawkins

Hawkins turned himself into the jail Friday with his attorney present. He is now free on $25,000 bond.

A witness came forward to authorities and described excessive bruises on Hawkins’ 12-year-old daughter’s back and buttocks area, according to Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves.

According to the arrest warrant, the child suffered small abrasions on her buttocks, back, rear thigh, arms and hands.

“The bruising was still apparent approximately 20 hours after the alleged incident,” the warrant states.

The warrant alleges that Hawkins “spanked” the child for making three C’s on he report card.

Manchester Director of Schools Dr. Prater Powell released an official statement Tuesday.

“In light of his arrest Friday night, Mr. Gary Hawkins has been placed on administrative leave without pay,” Powell said. “The Manchester City School System takes the safety and care of the children entrusted to it very seriously and our personnel are held to a high standard. While it is important to note there have not been any allegations of abuse against any students in Mr. Hawkins’ class, given the nature of the charge I felt this was the appropriate action to take pending further investigation into the matter.”

Coffee County Sheriff’s Department investigator Jason Dendy is investigating the case. He presented evidence to District Attorney General Mickey Layne, who instructed Dendy to obtain a warrant in the case.

Powell said Hawkins teaches CDC (Comprehensive Development Classroom), or special education, for grades four through six at the school.

The school system is launching an independent investigation into Hawkins.

” The school system is launching its own investigation based upon information received from the sheriff’s department, DCS, attorney’s and so forth,” said Powell.

Hawkins appeared in Coffee County General Sessions Court Monday but his case was continued until Nov. 26.