A Columbus County dad is sticking by his nine year old son. He said he was allegedly assaulted by his fourth grade teacher. Antonio Graham said his son came home from school last week practically in tears. He said at the end of the school day he was hit, and kicked, by his teacher, Elizabeth Joyce West. "She punched him on the arm, upside his head with a closed fist, and kicked him," said Mr. Graham. That was nearly two weeks ago. Since then, Graham has filed a police report, and asked for his son to be switched to a different class. Both the principal and superintendent said they would not take a student out of a class halfway through the year. Superintendent Dan Strickland said the Board of Education investigated the alleged incident, but closed the case saying there was not enough evidence. "They opened up an investigation and then the teacher denied all the allegations. She didn't own up to nothing," said Graham. Graham's son said he was drinking at the water fountain on November 7th when a couple kids pushed him from behind. He said that is when Ms. West blamed him for starting trouble, made him wait in the classroom after school, and allegedly hurt him. Antonio added, "My little boy challenged her authority, by trying to explain himself, and we've taught him that. That he can explain himself, and voice his opinion on things; because that's the way we brought him up." Graham said his son goes to school every day, worried about what might happen next. He said he and his wife do not want to see Ms. West lose her job, but they do want an apology, recognition of guilt, and peace of mind that their son is safe behind the doors of Evergreen Elementary. "We send our kids to school, and hope that they will be protected, and that the school system will put our children in the forefront as far as protecting them, and making sure they are taught," said Graham. WWAY chose not to use the boy's name or photo, to protect his privacy.
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