Deborah Alford

Polk County teacher arrested on cruelty to children and battery charges

A special education teacher at Westside Elementary School in Cedartown was arrested on Thursday after allegations arose that she had physically abused a special needs child in the classroom.

According to Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome, Deborah Alexander Alford, 58 of a Ford Valley Road address in Gadsden, Ala., was arrested Thursday afternoon by the Etowah County, Ala. Sheriff’s Office on warrants taken out by the Cedartown Police Department.

She was later extradited to the Polk County Jail to face several felony charges, including four felony counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, causing excessive pain, one count of felony cruelty to children first degree, and a misdemeanor count of battery.

Newsome said that the school resource officer at Westside was called in by officials with the Polk School District who made the allegations that Alford had abusive behavior in the classroom.

Her profile on the Westside Elementary School website reads that she has been with the Polk School District for 19 years and in education for 26 years.

Polk School District Superintendent Darrell Wetherington said that Alford has been placed on administrative leave, but declined to comment further on her employment status.