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February 24, 2014

Juvenile charged after altercation with teacher at ESMS

TIFTON — A juvenile was arrested at Eighth Street Middle School on Friday and charged with simple assault on a school official.

Officer Dawn Tillman of the Tifton Police Department was called to the school in reference to a report of a male student threatening to hit his teacher, Daniel Tawzer, in the face. According to the police report, the juvenile had cursed in class and became unruly. Tawzer told him to "focus on his work and to calm down." It was at this point the student told Tawzer, "I will punch you in the face."

The report also states that Tawzer "put his hand in (the student's) face), and this was when the student made the threat. The juvenile was escorted from the room, and continued to be unruly and loud in the hallway, saying, "He don't need to put his hand in my face."

The student was handcuffed and held, pending the arrival of his mother, who was very upset. She said her son being charged was a racist event, that she was "tired of people." She also said she would obtain a lawyer and was leaving the school to speak to schools Superintendent Patrick Atwater.

The report stated the mother would not allow the assistant principal to speak and repeatedly said the school was being racist towards her son. The juvenile attempted to calm his mother, but she remained upset, and said the school had no right to have him arrested.

When the woman noticed her son was handcuffed, she became more angry, and asked the arresting officer if he was handcuffed because the situation was "so bad." Tillman told the mother that anyone arrested is handcuffed, regardless of the reason for the arrest.

The mother said the reason her son was handcuffed was because he is black, and added that the school was overreacting. She demanded to know why the teacher wasn't arrested for "calling her son ignorant," the report stated.

The student continued to try to calm his mother, but she told him, "I would have hit (Tawzer) if he put his hand in my face."

The student was released to his mother's custody.

In two other unrelated incidents, two local vehicles were vandalized, both discovered on Sunday.

Officer Anthony Hughes noticed black spray paint all the way down the driver's side of a 1998 gold Ford Explorer, located on 6th Street. The estimated damage is more than $500.

There were cameras on the side of the building which may show the identity of the person or persons responsible.

Also on 6th Street, a white Chrysler PT Cruiser was reportedly spray painted on the driver's side with black paint.

In other matters:

• An officer from the Tifton Police Department was called to a home Sunday on Cypress Ridge Road regarding an attempted home invasion. A woman at the residence reported that two males, either light-skinned black or Hispanic, and wearing black jumpsuits, attempted to break into her home. The woman heard a noise at the door, but thought it was her dogs. She then heard the breaking of a window at the rear of the home, and when she went to investigation, she saw the two subjects running from her backyard. The men were last seen running into the woods across the road, toward Windsor Drive.

• A resident on S. College Circle reported a burglary on Saturday. The front door, which had been locked when the homeowner left earlier in the day, was found to be unlocked when he returned. The door jam was pulled back also. A 19-inch television was taken from a bedroom in the home. It was valued at $300. The resident named a possible suspect, a female named Shorty Red, also known as New York. The woman had been staying in the home, but the homeowner had told her to leave and had changed the locks.

To contact editor Angye      Morrison, call 382-4321.

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