The attorney for a former Gainesville Middle School substitute teacher accused of simple battery has filed a motion for immunity on the charges, according to court documents.
Clindon Thomas Middleton, of Gainesville, faces two counts of simple battery.
In the motion filed May 7, defense attorney Andrew Hothem argued Middleton is immune from criminal liability because his actions were “undertaken in good faith” while citing a section of Georgia code.
“An educator shall be immune from criminal liability for any act or omission concerning, relating to, or resulting from the discipline of any student or the reporting of any student for misconduct, provided that the educator acted in good faith,” according to the Georgia code.
The term educator in that code section refers to any “principal, school administrator, teacher, guidance counselor, paraprofessional, school bus driver, volunteer assisting teachers in the classroom, tribunal members, or certificated professional personnel.”
Hothem did not expand on the legal strategy.
“Upon conferring with my client, we have no further comment at this time,” Hothem wrote in a statement.
The hearing date has not yet been scheduled.
According to the accusation, Middleton is charged with making “physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature” by “grabbing or twisting the arm” of two students in November.
The school system said in November 2017 Middleton was no longer working for them.
The Newtown Florist Club, a local civil rights organization, in November 2017 wrote a letter to Superintendent Jeremy Williams, in which the club’s executive director, the Rev. Rose Johnson, expressed “unwavering support” for Middleton and urged the charges against him be dropped.
The club expressed its concern with the “developing pattern of criminalizing educators in matters involving student discipline.”