Spalding County Teacher Charged for Punching 6th Grader in the Face

The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office charged a middle school teacher with battery after officers say she admitted to hitting a student in the face.

Deputies nabbed Sowjayna Ballikurva for an incident that happened at Kennedy Road Middle School on April 13. A sixth grader came to the school nurse and said that she had been hit in the face by a teacher.

The nurse took the student to the student resource officer, who noticed “redness on the child’s face as though she had been struck.”

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix said that school administrators did not tell the SRO about the child being hit as they are required to do.

“When the SRO located the Principal, he was told that the teacher had already been interviewed by school staff, admitted she struck the child and sent home,” Dix said.

The SRO said he wasn’t in the room when Ballikurva was questioned before she was sent home, but another staff member arranged for the SRO to meet with her.

Deputies looked at the video of the incident and said the teacher admitted to hitting the kid.

“We’re glad that the nurse did her duty, stepped forward, and spoke to the SRO or we may not have found out about it,” Dix said.

There Was a Delay in Teacher’s Arrest

On Monday, the sheriff’s office caught and charged the 44-year-old with simple battery. The sheriff’s office said there was a delay in her arrest because they had to check Ballikurva’s foreign status.

The tweet below verifies the news:

Channel 2 Action News reached out to the Griffin-Spalding County School District for comment. The district says school officials followed their protocols and reported the incident the same day they learned about it.

“School leadership became aware of a reported incident at Kennedy Road Middle School on Thursday, April 13 and an investigation, by the appropriate authorities, was promptly initiated.

School leadership followed standard practice. The Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) was quickly notified by the school leadership, as school leaders are mandatory reporters. The principal notified the human resources staff and a personnel investigation started. The principal collected evidence and spoke to the teacher and witnesses in his preliminary investigation.

The teacher was placed on administrative leave and sent home awaiting the outcome of the personnel investigation. School leadership talked with the parent of the student involved and then law enforcement was notified. The reported incident took place Thursday afternoon and this process was finished a few hours later the same day.

The results of the school’s preliminary investigation were shared with law enforcement. The teacher fully worked with the investigative process and turned herself into a law enforcement official.

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