The Standard Journal

Teacher arrested on allegation­s of ‘excessive force’

- From staff reports

A Westside Elementary School special- education teacher was j ailed l ast week on charges Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome said pertain to use of “excessive force” in “physically dealing” with at least two students. According to Newsome: Deborah Alexander Alford, 58, of Etowah County, Alabama, is on administra­tive leave, and was arrested on Feb. 9 and extradited back to Polk County from the Etowah County Jail.

According to Polk County Jail reports, She is facing four felony counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, maliciousl­y causing excessive pain; one felony county of cruelty to children in the first degree; and one misdemeano­r count of battery.

Newsome said Polk School District officials notified t he Westside’s school resource officer of an ongoing internal investigat­ion. School officials, he said, had contacted Cedartown police after they became concerned that the allegation­s against Alford constitute­d criminalit­y rather than just a school disciplina­ry matter.

The investigat­ion stemmed from Alford’s alleged use of excessive force against at least two students under her supervisio­n in the special education department at Westside.

The school resource officer re- viewed surveillan­ce video and gathered witness statements regarding the alleged misconduct, which led the case to be reviewed by the Polk County District Attorney’s Office, Newsome explained.

Newsome said police continue to interview witnesses, but are keeping “certain details close to our chest,” in reference to the investigat­ion.

The case was presented before a Grand Jury on Feb. 3. A true bill was returned and resulted in a warrant being issued for Alford’s arrest. No bond had been set by press time over the weekend for her release and she remained in jail as of Feb. 11.

Alford’s profile on the Westside Elementary website stated she is a 26-year veteran in Georgia schools, with 19 years in the school district as a special-education teacher.

 ??  ?? Deborah Alexander Alford
Deborah Alexander Alford

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