A Youngs Grove Elementary administrator previously facing felony and misdemeanor charges will remain on probation until next year and resigned from his job as conditions of a plea deal put forth by the Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
Matthew Johnson was assistant principal at Youngs Grove Elementary School, was indicted in January by the grand jury for charges of felony cruelty to children in the second degree, plus misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct, battery and simple battery. Instead of facing trial, he agreed to a plea deal with the District Attorney’s office to take a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge.
That comes with a sentence of 12 months of probation and a $1,000 fine. Additionally, Johnson lost his job and made a public apology to the student and their family as part of the conditions of the plea deal.
District Attorney Jack Browning said that proceedings in the case wrapped up on Monday morning, Feb. 5, after the child’s guardian came in court to give her agreement to the deal as well.
“He plead guilty to what he was really guilty of doing,” Browning said.
The agreement brings to a quick close Johnson’s case after he was charged back in November 2017 after Polk County Police looked into a complaint brought by the Department of Family and Children Services about Johnson’s actions prior to the Thanksgiving break.
According to arrest reports, on Nov. 16, 2017, Johnson dragged a child for a distance across a carpeted floor, which caused burns to the student’s skin after the child refused to comply with orders by the former administrator to calm down.
He was suspended with pay following the incident from the Polk School District, and was briefly held in jail in November before he bonded out.
Johnson’s future teaching career will be up to the state’s Professional Standard Commission to decide, since they have the power to suspend or revoke his license as an educator.