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Arrested teachers resign
School system to report to GPSC

COVINGTON - The Alcovy High School teacher and paraprofessional who were arrested in late March following allegations of abuse of a special-needs student have resigned and will be reported to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, according to the Newton County School System.

On April 14, paraprofessional Nanette Surber, who is accused of placing packing tape over the mouth of a 17-year-old 11th-grade student in a special-needs class, sent her letter of resignation to the Newton County School System.

"I want to thank you for the opportunity to have worked for Newton Co. school system for these 2 years," reads her letter to NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley that was placed in her personnel file. "I hereby tender my resignation effective 4/30/2008. I summit (sic) this to you due to personal issues. Once again thank you."

Teacher Derrick Roberts, who is accused of repeatedly placing a bar of soap in the mouth of the same handicapped student on a separate date, delivered his resignation letter to the school system April 21.

"As you are aware, there have been certain allegations made against me concerning treatment of a student," his letter to Whatley reads. "While I deny these allegations, I have no desire to cause my students, the administration of Alcovy High School or the Board of Education any concerns. ... This resignation will become effective as of April 30, 2008."

He added that he enjoyed working with his students and the Alcovy staff.

Sherri Viniard, director of public relations for NCSS, said the class that was previously taught by Roberts and Surber is now being taught by a certified teacher and a substitute paraprofessional.

Although both Roberts and Surber have resigned, Viniard said the actions of the two will still be reported to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

"The PSC will make the decision on the consequences for the two," she said.

Once the complaint is filed by the school system, GPSC will review it and decide whether or not to conduct its own investigation.

If the commission votes to open an investigation into the matter, then the case will be assigned to a staff investigator, who could take a couple of months to complete an investigation.

Once the investigation is complete, the commission will issue a decision, which could include a warning, reprimand or revocation of any certificate, license or permit held by the educators, according to the GPSC Web site.

"An individual whose certificate has been revoked may not serve as a volunteer or be employed as an educator, paraprofessional, aide or substitute teacher or in any other position during the period of his or her revocation," the Web site reads.

Once the commission issues a decision, the educator may appeal and then the case would go to the state Attorney General's Office and could go on to Superior Court or to the state Supreme Court, depending on the commission's response and if it is continuously appealed by the educators.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.