Former School Employee Won’t Face Criminal Charges For Using Belt On Student

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

University Place Elementary School (WHNT News 19 file)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Police say a former contract worker at University Place Elementary will not face criminal charges for allegedly beating a second grade student with a belt.

This, according to our news partners The Huntsville Times/

Harry Hobbs, a Huntsville Police Department spokesperson, said police and prosecutors have determined that the accused worker is protected from prosecution under state law.

“The suspect used his belt to spank several children, striking each of them two times, and one child three times, on the butt,” Hobbs told The Huntsville Times/ “It was determined that this did not meet the requirements for abuse, so no criminal charges will be brought against the suspect. He will be offered a diversion program by the (Madison County) District Attorney’s Office.”

The worker was fired.  Huntsville City Schools did not release the person’s name and neither did police.

The student’s mother, Shablis Harrell, went to school leaders in late March to report that her 8-year-old son was yanked out of the library for talking.  The boy was then taken to an empty room nearby and whipped on his buttocks with a studded belt the worker was wearing. The mother told WHNT News 19 that the contract worker turned off the light before the beating, which left severe cuts and bruises on her son.  Harrell told WHNT News 19 her son was so scared from the experience he did not want to return to school.

“His experience in that beating was horrible, horrid,” said Harrell. “I want to make sure that he [fired worker] is never allowed to work with children again…That man took my child into the backroom of the library where no one could see, there were no windows, took his own personal belt off, and beat my child, and told him before he beat him that if he did not get up and come to him then the beating was going to be worse.”