Local elementary school assistant principal charged with cruelty to children

An assistant principal at Youngs Grove Elementary School in Cedartown turned himself in at the Polk County Jail early Wednesday morning following an incident earlier in the month.

Polk County Police reports indicate that Matthew Michel Johnson, 31, was booked and soon released on $8,000 bail.  His charges include felony cruelty to children second degree, and misdemeanor simple battery, battery, and reckless conduct.

According to Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd, on November 17, 2017, a third grade student who was already in trouble for pushing another child was taken to the principal’s office.  The child then refused to follow instructions and laid down on the floor.  It was then that Johnson allegedly dragged the child by his legs along a carpet.  The child received extensive burns to his back, lower back and buttocks, according to the report.

The Georgia Department of Family and Children Services then got involved and issued a referral to the Polk County Police Department on November 27, who initiated the investigation.   Upon notification of the opening of the investigation, the Polk School District placed Johnson on suspension with pay pending the investigation.

On the following day, PCPD wrapped up their investigation and secured arrest warrants for Johnson.

Polk School District Superintendent Laurie Atkins declined to comment further on the investigation, other than to say that Johnson was suspended with pay but couldn’t comment on an ongoing personnel issue.