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Georgia high school teacher hospitalized after brutal attack by student: 'We need zero tolerance


Authorities in Rockdale County, Georgia, are reviewing a now viral video after a student's attack on a teacher left the longtime educator hospitalized.

The video shows an altercation between a student and a teacher, who was identified as English Language Arts teacher Tiwana Turner in a GoFundMe, inside a classroom at Heritage High School on Jan. 26. An argument escalated into a physical attack when the student slammed the classroom door on Turner and then started punching her.

The attack continued into the hallway, where the teacher of 27 years was pulled to the ground and punched repeatedly, resulting in her being hospitalized. The GoFundMe account said she is unable to walk after suffering knee and leg injuries including a broken leg.

Turner's recovery will include "extensive rehabilitation and therapy," and she will not be able to work "any time soon," the account stated.

A student is seen assaulting Rockdale County Public Schools teacher Tiwana Turner after Turner attempted to correct the student's behavior.

A student is seen assaulting Rockdale County Public Schools teacher Tiwana Turner after Turner attempted to correct the student's behavior. (Video screengrab/WAGA)

According to the GoFundMe, Turner was covering another class for a co-worker who was absent that day. When she attempted to "redirect the off-task behavior" of a student, she was physically assaulted by the student.

The student is a ninth grader and has been charged with aggravated battery, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers, told Fox 5 Atlanta she was angered by the video and that incidents like that directly contribute to the nationwide teaching shortage.

"Students are out of control…there is no excuse for the violence…there is no excuse for children who are coming into our school daily and wreaking havoc so other students cannot learn," she told the outlet.

She added that the environment is the number one problem in the struggle to attract and retain teachers – discipline problems within the classroom.

"When we search the web and just Google ‘student assaults on teachers,’ we’ll see numerous assaults across the country and this is driving teachers out of the classroom," Verdaillia said.

Rockdale County Public Schools teacher Tiwana Turner is assaulted by an unidentified student after attempting to correct the student in the classroom.

Rockdale County Public Schools teacher Tiwana Turner is assaulted by an unidentified student after attempting to correct the student in the classroom. (Video screengrab/WAGA)

While talking with Fox 5, Verdaillia said she thinks the student and the parents should be held accountable, describing what teachers have to deal with daily as a "state of emergency."

"Right now, we need zero tolerance," she added.

In a statement to Fox 5, Rockdale County Public Schools said:

"RCPS does not tolerate student violence towards any staff members. Students who harm other students or staff will be disciplined according to our Student Discipline Code of Conduct and will be appropriately charged by law enforcement."

A student is seen pulling Heritage High School teacher Tiwana Turner to the ground during a fight.

A student is seen pulling Heritage High School teacher Tiwana Turner to the ground during a fight. (Video screengrab/WAGA)

It's unclear what disciplinary action(s) the student is facing from the school or school system. 

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