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Henry Board fires school couselor

By Michael Davis

The Henry County Board of Education voted unanimously to terminate a counselor who failed to report the suspected abuse of a child who later died.

After an all-day hearing and a late-night executive session to decide Eagle's Landing Middle School counselor Patricia White's fate, the board decided to fire her for insubordination, willful neglect of duty and other good and sufficient cause.

In a termination hearing on Tuesday, White told the school board that she spoke to 11-year-old Joella Reaves on Sept. 11 about a bruise on Joella's jaw and the child told her it was acquired from a skateboard accident.

"I failed to report a bruise. That's what I failed to report," White said during the hearing.

Joella Reaves was found dead in her Stockbridge home on Dec. 1. Police say the child had been tied up in the garage and over several days the week of Thanksgiving, beaten with a paddle and umbrella. Her father and stepmother, Rodney and Charlott Reaves, are charged with murder and cruelty to children. They are scheduled to appear in Henry County Magistrate Court on Jan. 9 for a preliminary hearing.