Former teacher’s aide sentenced to jail for battery

July 21, 2022 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former West Virginia teacher’s aide has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery charges involving two special-needs students.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster also ordered Walter Pannell, 72, on Wednesday to complete two years of supervised probation after his release from jail, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Pannell’s attorney, J.A. Curia, requested probation, community service, home confinement or some combination, saying the former Horace Mann Middle School employee had worked in the district for decades with no prior record.

“With the exception of this matter, there was no prior disciplinary history at Kanawha County Board of Education,” Curia said, adding that “he is truly remorseful.”

According to criminal complaints, video showed Pannell pushing and dragging a male student, spanking him and threatening to punch him. Another video shows Pannell grabbing a female student by the back of her neck and shaking her and later spanking her.

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Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster asked Pannell to explain his actions before sentencing him, saying it was not just one incident.

Pannell ultimately said he “just made a bad decision.”

“I am truly sorry for what happened,” Pannell told the court. “And I apologize to the families. I never wanted to hurt anybody.”