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Teacher accused of student abuse may not face trial | News

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Teacher accused of student abuse may not face trial

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- A former special education teacher who was indicted for abusing her students may not face trial.

The 2012 indictment charged Hopewell Middle School teacher Melanie Pickens of nine counts of cruelty to children, and false imprisonment.

The parents of five special needs children at the north Fulton County school reported Pickens slammed them against lockers and walls, restrained them alone in the dark, and screamed and used foul language in 2006 and 2007.

One of those children was Aaron Hatcher, whose parents set up a Facebook page called Justice for Aaron after they say the abuse continued at Roswell High school and ultimately led to his death.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled Pickens acted in good faith in trying to keep order among several developmentally disabled students and dismissed the charges.

In a statement, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he would appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, saying in part, "It is difficult to understand how a teacher could be granted immunity -- essentially giving her permission to harm helpless special needs children."

Pickens' teacher certification has been revoked and several different multi-million dollar lawsuits are pending.


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