By Curt Yeomans
A Clayton County teacher is facing a charge of simple battery after she allegedly pushed a 14-year-old, female student, and pinned her on the ground at the fitness center of the Eula Wilborn Ponds Perry Center for Learning.
Jeannie Elkovich, 34, made her first appearance in Clayton County Magistrate Court on Friday. The incident occurred on Thursday.
A Clayton County Magistrate Judge set the teacher's bond at $5,000. Elkovich had posted bond by Friday afternoon.
Attorneys for Elkovich could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The reported fight between Elkovich and the student began when the student allegedly refused to follow her teacher's instructions, according to a Jonesboro Police report. Elkovich and the student got into an argument, and the pupil allegedly began using profane language toward the instructor.
Elkovich told the student to leave the class, and the pupil began to comply with the order. However, the teacher walked up behind the student as the teen was walking out the door, and the two females began to argue again. Elkovich, then, allegedly pushed the student out the classroom door "with her knees and hands," according to court documents.
The student started back into the classroom toward Elkovich, and the pair began "physically struggling with each other," and ended up on the ground outside the classroom, according to police.
Jonesboro Police Officer Phillip Hammond, the Perry Center's Student Resource Officer (SRO) was called to the scene of the altercation at 9:12 a.m., according to the police report. Upon arrival, Hammond found a large group of students and administrators gathered around Elkovich and the student. By then, an administrator was restraining the pupil.
Hammond placed handcuffs on the student and escorted her to the front office, so he could determine what happened. He gathered statements from Elkovich, the student and witnesses to the altercation. The SRO and Jonesboro Police Sgt. Anthony Lumpkin reviewed a tape from a surveillance camera located in the hallway where the fight occurred.
Hammond and Lumpkin determined the teacher provoked the fight by pushing the student out the door. Elkovich was arrested, and taken to the Clayton County Jail. A juvenile petition will be filled out on the student, and Jonesboro police will forward the document to the Clayton County Juvenile Court system. The student was released into her mother's custody.
Police intend to get a copy of the surveillance tape, so it can be placed into evidence.
School System Spokesman Charles White said the student was enrolled in the district's Success Academy, a program designed to help pupils who the district have identified as needing "additional support" in the transition from middle school to high school.
Detective Tim Jessup, a Jonesboro Police Department spokesman, said he had been ordered to refer all questions about the incident to White.
White said the school system is still investigating, and Elkovich is "still a teacher, still working." He also said the district wants to make sure Elkovich receives due process during the investigation. He would not comment further on the issue.