Assistant Principal cleared of criminal charges over September 2016 paddling

Updated: May. 30, 2019 at 4:47 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An Attalla assistant principal has been cleared of child abuse charges.

34-year-old Nathan Ayers of Cullman was arrested in December 2016 and later indicted for child abuse charges over a paddling. He was also indicted for second degree assault.

Ayers is assistant principal at Etowah Middle School in Attalla. He paddled a student in September 2016 over an obscene gesture toward another student.

His attorneys argued in court Ayers was cleared in an administrative investigation by the Attalla School System, and therefore was immune from criminal charges because he was found to have followed proper procedure.

Their motion to dismiss went into detail about the paddling. It said Ayers asked if the student wanted a paddling or in-school detention. The student said he wanted the paddling.

After the first lick, the student reportedly said “Ow! I got a shot there!” and Ayers questioned why the student didn’t mention that earlier. Ayers then asked if the student still wanted the other lick or alternative punishment, and the student took the lick.

The child’s mother later showed cell phone photos of heavy bruising to her son’s buttocks to then-superintendent David Bowman. She said she wanted the incident documented so neither her ex-husband nor DHR would blame her for the injuries. Bowman testified he found her comments odd.

Ayers' attorney, Shaun Malone, issued the following statement to WBRC:

“I’m certainly pleased with the court’s ruling. This was a long journey and I am happy for Nate and his family. This was truly a team effort with the extraordinary help from co-counsel Jim Turnbach and Teresa Petelos. Nate looks forward to putting this matter behind.”

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