A 10-year-old Atlanta-area boy was forced to kiss and lick his teacher’s toes.
And though the teacher, Jody Kilpatrick of Temple Elementary School in Carroll County, has apologized for the incident, a preliminary investigation found no criminal intent since she apparently received no sexual gratification from the physical contact.
The child told investigators his classmates physically restrained him and forced him to kiss his teacher’s feet – and the teacher went along with the abuse.
“Ms. Kilpatrick asked [my son], did he want to see her toes, and he was, like, okay, I’ll look at your toes,” explained Denise Strozier, the boy’s mother. “So, a student that was his friend and another student took his hands and put them down, behind his back, and she stood there and allowed these children to push my son to the ground, and he licked her toes. And she gave him candy.”
Later, the teacher, as well as one of the students, signed the child’s yearbook, with messages openly joking about what happened that day.
Chief Deputy Brad Robinson told a local TV news crew that investigators have concluded, preliminarily, that the teacher’s intent was not criminal because there is no evidence she sought to derive any sexual gratification, which he said is key to prosecutors seeking to prove wrongdoing in cases involving physical contact between teachers and children.
But Strozier wants the teacher fired.
“Outrage doesn’t begin to describe how I feel right now,” she said. “It’s like a game to her. It’s a joke to her.”
Robinson believes Strozier’s complaint is an issue for the school board to address rather than the sheriff’s office.
The Carroll County school superintendent’s office is investigating, and declined to comment.
The Georgia Professional Standards Commission’s code of ethics for teachers states “An educator should demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards.” Unethical conduct includes “committing any act of child abuse” and “encouraging an inappropriate physical relationship.”
“I don’t know what to say. I’m just literally dumb-founded that this has happened in my son’s school,” Strozier said.
The Carroll County district attorney’s office will make the final decision on whether to indict the teacher later this month. The school board will decide whether to discipline her.