Teaching Assistant Hung Autistic Boy, 5, From Bulletin Board by His Belt Loop: Prosecutor
A former teaching assistant in Georgia has been charged with reckless conduct after authorities say he hung a 5-year-old student on a chalkboard by his belt loop.
Antonio Cammon, a paraprofessional at Shoal Creek Elementary School in Conyers, is accused of hanging an autistic boy from a hook that hung beside the chalkboard after a witness claimed the child was throwing a tantrum.
Principal Tiwon Tony reported finding the child hanging in the classroom after hearing screams from one of the school's teachers on May 5.
Cammon was fired following the incident, as was a second paraprofessional and a teacher. Neither of the other former employees were charged with a crime when Cammon appeared in court for a probable cause hearing on Thursday.
At the hearing, a judge ruled that Cammon will not face the felony cruelty to a child charge recommended by the Rockland County Sheriff's Office, reports WGCL.
Cammon's attorney, Jackie Patterson told InsideEdition.com that he and co-counsel Brandon Dixon are pleased their client now only faces a misdemeanor charge.
Patterson said Cammon is innocent and they are “looking forward to going to trial.”
According to Patterson, the incident was just an accident.
"My client simply lifted [the boy] up in the air," Patterson said. "He didn’t realize he was standing next to the chalkboard where the hook was."
Patterson said his client was called into the boy's classroom when the teacher couldn't handle his tantrum because Cammon has a positive relationship with the boy.
Patterson said the boy was known to calm down when lifted in the air, which is why Cammon held him in the first place. He said he's confident Cammon's past relationship with the boy and dedication to his job will translate into a not guilty verdict when the case goes to trial.
If convicted on the misdemeanor charge, however, Cammon faces up to 12 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
An off-hours call made to the Rockland County Public School district went unreturned Sunday.