Rutherford Co. principal, teacher charged with child abuse

Helen Campbell
Bonnie Marlar
Posted at 3:19 PM, Nov 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 14:36:58-05

RUTHERFORD CO., Tenn. (WTVF) — The principal and one teacher from Walter Hill Elementary School have been suspended following child abuse charges. Principal Helen Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar are currently under investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Rutherford County Schools emailed the news to parents Saturday. Communications Director James Evans said Campbell and Marlar are being charged with misdemeanor child abuse.

Arrest affidavits say Campbell and Marlar dragged a male student by his feet through the elementary, causing him to hurt his head.

The school will be open Monday with an interim principal.

Hearings for Campbell and Marlar were set for December 12 and January 12, respectively.

Rutherford County Schools sent the following statement to parents in the district:

Hello Walter Hill Elementary School parents,

This is James Evans with Rutherford County Schools. I’m sorry to bother you on a Saturday, but I have some unfortunate information to share with you. Ms. Helen Campbell, the principal of Walter Hill Elementary School, and Bonnie Marlar, a teacher at the school, have been charged with misdemeanor child abuse by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department.

As a school district, we have placed both on suspension pending the outcome of an investigation.

We understand this comes as shocking information and that you want more details, but we are not able to release additional information at this time because of the ongoing law enforcement investigation. However, we want you to know that student safety is of the utmost concern, which is why we have acted quickly to this situation until it can be resolved.

The school will be open Monday and will carry on with normal operations with an interim principal in place. Thank you again for supporting the school and working with us through this situation.

-James Evans, Rutherford County Schools Communications Director