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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Carter Co. substitute teacher accused of stapling 3 students

April 1st, 2014 5:59 pm by John Thompson

Carter Co. substitute teacher accused of stapling 3 students

Alysha Lynn Cook

ELIZABETHTON — A substitute teacher with the Carter County School System has been dismissed and is facing criminal charges after she allegedly stapled three children at Central Elementary School on Monday.

Sheriff Chris Mathes said Alysha Lynn Cook, 43, was arrested at 4 p.m. Tuesday on three counts of simple assault after his department's investigation. Cook was booked into the Carter County Jail on $5,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in Sessions Court on May 13.

Assistant Director of Schools Peggy Campbell investigated the allegation and praised Central Elementary School Principal Terry Morley for the way he took charge of the investigation. Campbell said in separate interviews with each of the three 6th graders, each told the same story that they had voluntarily asked that the teacher staple them on their arm.

"Mr. Morley handled it perfectly," Campbell said. "He had already talked to the teacher and sent her home and talked to four students and called the parents."

Campbell said she was visiting at the Happy Valley Schools on Monday afternoon when she received word of a problem at Central Elementary, 252 Taylortown Road, Johnson City.

Because Morley had already sent the teacher home, Campbell said, she did not have the chance to get Cook's side of the story, but she was able to talk to each of the students separately and got the same details from each of them.

Although the 6th graders said they were willing participants, Campbell said "that does not excuse the teacher's actions, she was the adult."

After getting the story from the students, Campbell said, she talked with director of Schools Kevin Ward. She said the teacher has been removed from the substitute teacher list and all schools have been told she can no longer be used.

Campbell said she then contacted Lt. Mike Fraley of the Carter County Sheriff's Department, who is the liaison with the schools. Fraley then brought in the school resource officer, and the Sheriff's Department investigation began.

Campbell said none of the three children was injured in the incident.

She said Morley took photographs of the children's arms, which were given to the sheriff's department as part of the investigation.

While the injuries were visible, she said "they didn't require bandages and only one had a little spot of blood." She said their wounds were treated with an antiseptic.

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