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Teaching assistant arrested for assaulting student

Posted: February 1, 2018 4:20 p.m.
Updated: February 2, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Provided by the KCDC/

Martha Dunn

The Camden Police Department (CPD) arrested a Camden Middle School (CMS) teaching assistant on an assault charge Monday following a nearly week-long investigation.

According to a CPD report, Martha Saho Dunn, 51, of Poplar Lane, Camden, is charged with third-degree assault. It lists an 11-year female as the victim. The report lists the victim as an 11-year-old girl, and that the incident took place Jan. 22. A warrant provided by the CPD alleges that Dunn slapped the girl, described in the warrant as a special needs child, “in retaliation for the child slapping her” and that the “suspect’s statements and the investigation by the Camden Police Department (would) prove the same.”

Third-degree assault is a misdemeanor charge, and a person convicted of third-degree assault must be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days or both, according to the S.C. Code of Laws.

The CPD report indicates that CMS Principal Byron Johnson advised the school’s resource officer (SRO) that the district told him about a possible Department of Social Services complaint notification.

“(A) complaint was received regarding allegations of an unprofessional conduct toward a student,” the officer wrote in the report. “Byron advised, per human resources, their policy is to place teachers and paraprofessional(s) on leave pending (an) investigation.”

CPD Chief Joe Floyd said Johnson informed the SRO near the end of the school day on Jan. 23. The SRO, in turn, contacted their supervisor and alerted them to the incident. Floyd said Dunn allegedly slapped the girl on one of her legs.

“Once we were aware there was a potential allegation of possible misconduct that could be criminal in nature, we began an interview process of some of the staff there at CMS that would have been in the classroom at the time. We had an investigator at the school on Wednesday morning,” Floyd said, referring to Jan. 24. “As a result of those interviews, we secured a warrant for assault, third degree, against Martha Dunn.”

Floyd said his department’s investigation also revealed that it was an educator from another district who contacted the Kershaw County School District offices about the incident.

“The district was contacted by a speech/language teacher who was involved in video conferencing with Camden Middle School who contacted the district that they may have had a problem in one of their classrooms,” he said.

Floyd said Dunn turned herself in at the Kershaw County Detention Center (KCDC) where an officer served her with the warrant. She was booked and then released under a personal recognizance bond by a judge, Floyd said. KCDC officials said the bond was for $1,062.

The CPD’s report listed three other people as suspects in its investigation, but redacted their information because they were not charged, Floyd said.

Kershaw County School District Director of Communications Mary Anne Byrd said Dunn was placed on administrative leave with pay pending her case’s disposition. Byrd also said the district hired Dunn in 1996, and that the district is conducting its own investigation into the allegations.

“We are cooperating with the police department,” she said.

Byrd declined to answer any other questions, citing the ongoing investigation, including whether or not the other people whose information was redacted from the CPD report were CMS staff members or if they were placed on administrative leave as well.

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