LAKE CITY, Fla. – A Lake City Middle School teacher has been fired and charged with child abuse without causing great bodily harm, according to a report from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
The eight-page document states that Denise Nash is accused of kicking an eighth grade student in their back on Jan. 19 in front of the school’s cafeteria.
According to the document, one of the witnesses immediately texted Principal Robert Cooper and Assistant Principal William Murphy. The witness, the document states, said Murphy responded “thanks” and that Cooper said “to come talk to him.” The witness told investigators that she asked Cooper if he was in his office but that he never responded and that he never followed up, according to the report.
Andrea Wilson, the student’s mother, told News4Jax her child has autism.
“I went to the school and talked with Mr. Murphy,” Wilson said. “He told me he was going to check into it. He called me and told me he checked into it ... like nothing happened, like they swept it under the rug.”
The incident report states Cooper told investigators that he received a “text message from an unknown person reporting the possibility of an incident,” but that the sender of the message never showed up to speak with him. It also states that Murphy told investigators he never spoke with Wilson in regard to any allegations of abuse by a teacher.
Lex Carswell, superintendent of the Columbia County School District, issued a statement to News4Jax that reads:
“We have received notice that Ms. Nash intends to fight her termination and therefore we will not be commenting due to impending litigation.”
A request for comment from Nash was not immediately returned.
According to the incident report, there is an ongoing investigation regarding Wilson informing school administration about the allegations.