Amelia Stripling: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

An award-winning Georgia teacher has been arrested after surveillance video showed her knocking down a 4-year-old special needs student.

Amelia Stripling, 71, was arrested last week, the Tifton Gazette reports. Stripling also resigned from her position as a teacher at the Tift County Pre-K Center, the newspaper reports.

You can watch the video above or by clicking here.

The student was not injured. Stripling was charged with second-degree cruelty to a child.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. The Video Shows Stripling Knocking the Student Over From Behind With Her Knee

amelia stripling

Amelia Stripling was seen on video knocking a special needs student to the ground. (Tift County Schools)

The clip of surveillance video footage showing the incident was released by the Tift County School District.

The video shows the 4-year-old boy, wearing a backpack, standing outside the door of a classroom, while the teacher walks toward him. The teacher, Amelia Stripling, looks down at the student and extends her knee into his back, sending the special needs student to the ground, his head just missing the wall.

She then helps him up and appears to talk to him and another teacher, before she puts her hand on his back and leads him into the classroom, closing the door.

The incident occurred March 17 and was reported to the Tifton Police Department by the boy’s mother on March 20, according to the Tifton Gazette. The mother said she was notified about the incident by the school district.

2. She Was Arrested on a Felony Charge & Faces Between 1 to 10 Years in PRison

amelia stripling

Stripling. (Tifton Police)

Stripling was arrested Friday, March 25, on a charge of second-degree cruelty to a child, WALB-TV reports.

She turned herself in after learning there was a warrant for her arrest. She was taken to the Tift County Jail and later released on $15,000 bail.

Her case will be brought before a grand jury.

According to Georgia law, the charge is a felony. She faces not less than one year nor more than 10 years in prison if found guilty.

3. She Worked for the School District for More Than 20 Years

(Tift County Schools)

(Tift County Schools)

Stripling is no longer an employee of the Tift County School District. Officials said she was a teacher in the district for 22 years, the Associated Press reports.

A district spokeswoman said Stripling resigned a day after the incident. Eyewitnesses reported that it appeared Stripling intentionally knocked over the child, the district spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

4. She Was Given an ‘Excellence in Teaching Award’ in 2014



Stripling was given an “Excellence in Teaching Award” by the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence in 2014.

The group is a “private, non-profit foundation to foster excellence in the Tift County Public Schools, the Foundation now has over 1750 individual and corporate patrons.” There have been more than 249 teachers awarded the “Excellence in Teaching” recognition since 1991.

She was given the award at the annual Tifton Rotary Club Banquet in November 2014.

5. The Child’s Mother Says She Has Hired a Lawyer

(Tift County Schools)

(Tift County Schools)

Sarah Patterson, the boy’s mother, said he recently turned 4. She has hired an attorney, she told WALB-TV.

Patterson reported the incident to police after school officials told her what happened.