Principal Fired After Images of Her Manhandling a Special Education Student Surface

A Tennessee principal who was recorded dragging a special education student through her school in 2019 has been fired.

On Thursday, the Rutherford County Board of Education reviewed video that showed former Walter Hill Elementary School principal Helen Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar each holding one of the boy’s ankles and dragging him down a hallway.

Another video showed Campbell pulling the child by his arm from a chair. She then grabbed him by his belt before dragging him out of the front office by his wrists, according to WZTV-TV.

The student sustained minor injuries.

Two-and-a-half years later, Campbell has been fired for unprofessional conduct, conduct unbecoming, insubordination and neglect of duty, WZTV reported.

School official Bill Spurlock said the Nov. 4, 2019, incident began when the student failed to do as he was told by Campbell.

According to the Daily News Journal, the boy was 10 at the time and has autism.

Campbell was also accused of trying to destroy video evidence by deleting the footage of the incident from the school’s camera.

Campbell had been the principal of Walter Hill since 2013. After the incident, she was suspended without pay pending an investigation.

Marlar was also hit with an unpaid suspension. She did not have tenure, and her contract was not renewed.


Campbell is serving two years of probation after pleading no contest to charges of child abuse/neglect and endangerment and attempted destruction of government records. Marlar is also on probation.

Board member Tammy Sharp praised Campbell, calling her a “phenomenal” principal, and opposed firing her.

“This is absolutely disgusting that this would be put on TV and Miss Campbell would not be given opportunity to defend [herself],” Sharp said, according to WZTV.

“Not one of us on this board have spoken to Miss Campbell. We don’t know the background of this student, we don’t know what his issues were,” she said. “I’m sure our teachers that deal with problems like this every day have a chill down their back today and they’re looking for more jobs.”

The board voted 4-2 to fire Campbell, the News Journal reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.