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Killeen ISD teacher faces injury to a child charge

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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 12:00 pm

By Chris McGuinness

Killeen Daily Herald

A Killeen Independent School District teacher is free on bail after being arrested and charged with injuring a 9-year-old student.

Arethia Gale Wade, a 50-year-old teacher at Cavazos Elementary School in Nolanville, was released on $10,000 bail - reduced from $100,000 - after being charged with injury to a child, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Wade turned herself in this week after Nolanville police investigated a report of child abuse at the school following an alleged altercation in late February.

Police viewed video surveillance footage from a classroom that showed Wade "lunge" at the victim before dragging him on the floor, according to the affidavit. Police watched Wade "yank" the student multiple times and try to restrain him by placing her arms around his chest.

When the child was later interviewed at an advocacy center, he claimed Wade grabbed, threw and kicked him. The child also said his stomach hurt from the assault, the affidavit states.

Leslie Gilmore, a spokesperson for the Killeen school district, said she could not comment on the investigation, but confirmed Wade was a "former" teacher as of March 1.

The district's personnel policy requires teachers and staff to abide by a code of conduct. The policy states that employees must notify the district if they are arrested, indicted or convicted of a crime, especially one that occurs on a school campus. The code also states any violations of the policy can result in disciplinary action, including termination.

In addition to termination, jail time and fines, Wade could lose her teacher certification.

DeEtta Culbertson, a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency, said districts are required to report a teacher resigning or being fired for breach of conduct.

"Once we get the notification, we can begin an investigation if we need to," said Culbertson. "That investigation will determine what we will do with the certifications."

The agency's database shows Wade has a valid "generalist" classroom teaching certificate, as well as an "educational secretary II" certificate.

Culbertson said she could not comment on whether an investigation into Wade had been opened, but said the agency generally waits until any legal proceedings are complete before beginning a review.

At press time Thursday, Wade was not scheduled to appear in court.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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