Parent reacts to arrest of school system employee

Parent reacts to arrest of school system employee

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - A Columbia County School System employee has resigned after being charged with failure to report child abuse.

John Padgett Jr., a school system hearing officer, resigned from his position Tuesday, Columbia County Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway said.

As a school system hearing officer, Padgett was required by Georgia law to report suspected abuse.

"That is extremely disturbing, because schools are supposed to be a safe haven for children," said Tina Wright, a local parent.

Wright said the allegations against Padgett could make children feel like the system has abandoned them.

"They feel like they're not being heard," Wright said. "So less and less children are likely to report."

But Wright does have some ideas on how to make sure kids' concerns are being heard.

"I think that there should be an audit process on a regular basis, you know, quarterly," Wright said.

The school board isn't saying much about how they're handling Padgett.

The matter was expected to be discussed during Tuesday's meeting behind closed doors during executive session because it's a confidential personnel matter, Carraway said.

For Wright, she hopes the school board takes the right steps in making sure all children are protected.

"It's an added comfort zone," Wright said. "And that's what it should be."

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