TCSS bus monitor arrested allegedly yanked hair of nonverbal, special needs child

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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The LaGrange Police Department has identified the Troup County School System employee who was arrested for inappropriate physical contact with a student.

Allison Marie Gilliam, 57, was arrested Tuesday and charged with simple battery for an incident caught on video that appeared to show her pushing and pulling the hair of a special needs student.

According to the incident report from LPD, officers began investigating the complaint of child abuse on April 27. TCSS Transportation Director Chip Giles told police that Ethel W. Kight Elementary School Principal Candice McGee received a complaint from a parent alleging a bus monitor caused bruises to her child during a school bus ride that occurred on April 25.

Giles reviewed the bus video and confirmed that an incident occurred between Gilliam and a ten-year-old, non-verbal, special needs student who attends Ethel Kight.

Police were able to review the video, which showed Gilliam allegedly grabbing the hair on the top of the student’s head with her right hand and forcefully yanking the child’s head down.

Using timestamps and GPS, the incident was determined to have occurred around 2:20 p.m. near the intersection of Orchard Hill Rd. and Lukken Industrial Dr.

Officers then spoke with the child’s parents and showed them the video of the incident. After the parents reviewed the video of the incident, they were upset and told the police that they wanted to press charges.

The parents told police that the child did not have any visible injuries, which was documented by photograph, according to the report.

Officers later met with Gilliam, who admitted to pulling the child’s hair and pushing her head down, according to the report.

According to police, Gilliam stated that the child pinched her, and she responded by pushing her head down, but she didn’t push it down that hard.

Gilliam told police that the child has pulled her hair in the past, and she has lightly pulled her hair back while telling her that is something that shouldn’t be done to others. She stated that her intention was not to hurt the child, and she never intends to hurt children. She said the video made the incident look worse than it was, and she only reacted because she was pinched.

The report said Gilliam admitted she was wrong and should not have done it because she is not supposed to touch students.

Police say they were unable to find any portion of the bus ride that showed pinching.

Gilliam was later arrested on a warrant for simple battery signed by Judge Luther Jones.

TCSS had said Tuesday that the district reported the allegation to law enforcement and the Department of Family and Children Services.