RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN (WSMV) - A principal and a teacher at a Rutherford County school are suspended after being charged with child abuse.   

Walter Hill Elementary School principal Helen Campbell and teacher Bonnie Marlar with child abuse.  

Melanie Leonard had two children attend the school for a month until she made the decision to homeschool them. 

Leonard said her son was being treated poorly and unfairly by his 4th grade teacher.  

She says she went to principal Campbell for help, but nothing was done.

The next day she said she tried to walk her kindergartner to class and was stopped by Campbell.  

“She blocked me in the hallway and would not let me go any further with my son. He was holding my hand. She grabbed his and hand and he jerked away from her because he could kind of feel that something was wrong,” said Leonard. 

Leonard said things only escalated from there.   

“She wouldn’t allow it because she knew I had already been there the previous day to talk about my other son’s teacher. I knew she wasn’t going to be any help. She was really was just trying to get me out of there. She walked right past me, held his stuff out in front of me and said no you’re leaving now, "said Leonard. 

The next day she received a letter from Campbell stating she was banned from the school.   

Another parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said these types of situations have been going for a while. 

“There seems to be the good ole boy system. If you have tenure or you're friends or your family has been friends for a while you seem to get away with more. It makes you feel helpless.”  

Both parents said the school does have some excellent teachers and they hope they speak up about what’s been going on.   

“I think the good ones that are there may be afraid just for their job security, for ratings, for a reason maybe I don’t know. Intimidation possibly to speak out.”  

“I do hope she is not allowed back at Walter Hill. There are plenty of testimonies to prove that she probably shouldn’t be around children,” said Leonard.

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Reporter

Alexandria Adams joined the News4 team as a reporter in October 2017.

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