Editor’s note: Here are five lingering questions in the case involving pre-school mom Kasey Brooks, charged with battery on her child’s teacher Wednesday at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church’s preschool program in Grovetown. Brooks told authorities she was upset at the teacher after seeing a video of her abusing her son in class.
Who is the teacher who Brooks accused of physically abusing and mishandling her son?
She is identified as 61-year-old June Irene Barrow of Grovetown, according to a Columbia County sheriff’s report. She is listed as a victim in the battery report against Brooks. She is listed as the suspect on a “simple battery” case file by Brooks in connection with allegedly abuse by her son, identified as 2-year-old Hatcher Brooks, who is nonverbal.
In the sheriff’s report, Brooks alleges that she was allowed to review video footage of her son’s class from Aug. 31 between 9:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.
“She witnessed multiple events of Ms. Barrow physically abusing and mishandling her son,” the sheriff’s report says. “She considered the actions child abuse. She further stated that she was told that she could not review other class days video footage or other cameras views.”
Brooks told deputies that she was convinced there was numerous other incidents because on Aug. 12, her son suffered a leg injury from school and she had to pick him up early.
“At that time, she did not think anything much of it, but with the latest incident, she became suspicious,” the report says.
Brooks has been charged with battery and released on bond. For her part, Barrow has not been charged with any crime.
What does the sheriff’s office say about Brooks’ allegations?
The report says that an investigator went to the school and “requested that they make available the video footage” from the Aug. 31 and Aug. 12. Since then, authorities say they have obtained a hard drive with all four school days when Hatcher was at the school. Investigators are expected to review the video this week and could charge the teacher by week’s end if they see a criminal offense. They do not plan to release the video, but may describe the content.
So Hatcher was only at the pre-school program for four days?
Yes. “The only reason he was there in the first place was because he was recommended because he is delayed,” Brooks told me. “It was recommended for his therapy for him to go and be around other kids. And they also knew that. He only went there for four days total. And I only got to see one day from one camera.”
How much money has Brooks raised?
Over $12,000. After readers on The Jail Report’s Facebook page read her account and began sending her money through Venmo and CashApp, many asked her about a GoFundMe account. So Brooks set one up herself and told her story there. By Sunday night, she had raised nearly $9,500 of a $25,000 goal, and that does not include well over $2,500 that she was sent directly.
Many people, like Teresa Mitchell, donated money and left a note. Mitchell gave $20 and said this: “I understand why she did it. We Momma Bears will do anything to protect our babies. How long has he been enduring this abuse? Nonverbal children can’t come home and tell mom what’s going on.”
Brooks told me that “the legal fees are not only going to be for my charges, they are also going to to pursue (the teacher), because the only way we can pursue her is through the court system.”
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church is not listed under providers on the website for Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. “Bright from the Start” administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages Quality Rated, Georgia’s community powered child care rating system, according to their website.
Brooks said she wasn’t aware until she contacted Bright from the Start that the Catholic church’s program was not a licensed program, which means the state does not have jurisdiction to investigate. The mother said she later found out that the exemption to the state’s involvement is because of the pre-school’s hours of operation.
What does St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church have to say about it?
Initially, the school offered a “no comment” Thursday through Communications Director Jill Parks with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah. When the story went viral Friday and got coverage from every news outlet in town, Parks announced that the teacher had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
But the teacher’s attorney Jack Long released video footage Friday night of Brooks’ attack on the teacher to WRDW-TV. Yet, supporters of Brooks who saw it were not moved, demanding the school release the video of the teacher’s interactions with the child. But many say that likely won’t happen since there are other children in the video and is still the subject of a criminal investigation.
On Sunday night, Brooks told me that she is “still blown away at the amount of support!”