Band director in Ga. charged with battery of students

ALBANY — Dougherty County School System officials have confirmed that two arrest warrants were issued Monday morning for Monroe High Band Director and Morningside Elementary music teacher Jamar Smith.

The Herald has learned that Smith has been charged with two counts of Simple Battery against two elementary school students. Both warrants were signed by State Court Judge Victoria Darrisaw, with bond set at $1,000.00 for each charge.

In an email to DCSS administrators, Dougherty School Police Assistant Chief J.C. Phillips wrote:

“On Friday, September 20, 2013 our office initiated an investigation at Morning Side (sic) Elementary School in reference to allegations of physical and verbal abuse of a class of fifth grade students there. The allegations were that the music teacher, Mr. Jamal Smith, who is also the band director at Monroe High School, used insulting and profane language toward the class, slapped one male student three times in his face and shoved one female student into a wall.

“The investigation, so far, has included a field interview of the principal of Morning Side (sic), reviewing of several written statements that were collected by the principal and a video recorded interview/interrogation of Mr. Smith. The statements written by several students and one para professional were consistent and very incriminating. Based on the written statements and Mr. Smith’s own verbal statements, it is clear that Mr. Smith made inappropriate comments to the students.

“It is also known that Mr. Smith made the students do pushups and hold books over their heads for extended periods of time. Based on the statements and Mr. Smith’s admissions, he did push the female student into the wall and he did put his hands on the male students face.”

When reached for comment, DCSS Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely said, “as stated in Asst. Chief Phillips email, Mr. Smith will be given the opportunity to turn himself in on the warrants in a timely manner."