CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Two former teachers’ aides accused of failing to report abuse in the classroom appeared in Kanawha County court Monday morning.
Lisa Perdue pled not guilty to six counts of failing to report neglect or abuse.
Lori Gibson faces seven counts of failing to report, but her arraignment was rescheduled because her attorney was not able to attend the hearing.
The charges stem from crimes committed by special needs teacher Nancy Boggs, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for abusing children in her classroom. Prosecutors claim Gibson and Perdue personally witnessed the abuse and did not report it as required under the law.
Both Gibson and Perdue were fired by Kanawha County Schools earlier this year, according to a spokesperson for the district.
Perdue’s attorney, John Mitchell Jr., says his client had been on the job between two and three weeks and worked outside the classroom half the time.
He said Perdue is as appalled by Boggs’ crimes as anyone.
Perdue’s trial has been scheduled for Dec. 5.
Boggs was accused of hitting a student with a cabinet door, pulling a student by the hair, slapping a student on the face, slapping a student on the shoulder, driving a student’s head into a desk and jerking a chair out from under a student. She was initially arrested in November 2021.
This case received attention at the state level, with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice taking a moment of his State of the State Address in January to call for higher penalties for child abuse in schools.
In March, the governor signed two bills into law to help protect children in special needs classrooms that were created due to the charges against Boggs as well as allegations of abuse at Horace Mann Middle School. The first law mandates video cameras that can be reviewed by local school boards are put in all special education classrooms. The second law made abusing any child a felony and made way for others to be charged if they see abuse and fail to report it.