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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Girl Says Teacher Choked Her Unconscious

ATLANTA (CN) - A charter school teacher choked a middle-schooler into unconsciousness, then told her classmates to clean up the blood and lie about what happened, the girl and her parents claim in court.

Aliyah Gill and her mother, Aimarrd Gill, sued Georgia Magnet Charter Schools Foundation Corp. and Laurel McClendon, in Fulton County Superior Court.

Gill, now 15, claims McClendon choked her during class in May 2012. McClendon was her eighth-grade social studies teacher at Hapeville Charter Middle School, in Atlanta.

"While attending her 'social studies' class, Aliyah's teacher, defendant McClendon, began to wrap her arm or arms tightly around Aliyah's neck, and placed Aliyah in a choke hold which deprived Aliyah of oxygen," the complaint states.

"As a result of the choke hold and the lack of oxygen flowing to Aliyah's brain, Aliyah became unconscious and fell to the floor face first, causing extensive damage to her mouth, her teeth and her face.

"Upon information and belief, after lying on the ground for a short period of time, Aliyah regained consciousness and defendant McClendon noticed the blood rushing from Aliyah's mouth.

"In a possible attempt to conceal the incident from others, defendant McClendon took the child to the bathroom to treat the child's profuse bleeding.

"Thereafter, defendant McClendon instructed another student to clean up the child's blood with paper towels and to dispose of those paper towels in a dumpster located outside of the building, and instructed students in her class to lie about the incident and the cause of Aliyah's injuries."

After another teacher found Aliyah bleeding in the bathroom, the school notified Aliyah's mother, the police and social services. A social services investigation concluded that there was evidence to support the teacher's mistreatment of Aliyah, according to the complaint.

Gill says the school knew that McClendon "had a tendency to engage in this prohibited physical contact with students," but let her off with a warning.

She claims Aliyah suffered extensive damage to her mouth and face, including bruises, lacerations and six dislodged teeth.

Hapeville, a charter school governed by the Fulton County School Board and Georgia Magnet Charter Schools, receives federal funding for economically disadvantaged families.

The Gills seek punitive damages for negligence.

They are represented by Louis Levenson.

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