CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Mason County superintendent of schools declared unwavering support for a Point Pleasant Intermediate principal arrested earlier this month for allegedly assaulting an 11-year-old child on a school bus, according to an email obtained by the Gazette.
Suzanne Dickens told several county principals in the email that she had reviewed the school bus security camera footage and did not consider Moffett's actions child abuse. She sent the email on April 9, four days after Cameron Moffett was arrested for the incident and charged with felony child abuse.
Dickens describes Moffett's actions as "the restraint of a special education student," and said the school board attorney and representatives from the state Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Resources agreed with her assessment.
"Unfortunately, we are not in charge," Dickens states. She later added, "Make no mistake ... I am supporting Cameron."
State Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro confirmed that a department representative viewed the video and told Dickens that Moffett's conduct, while inappropriate, may not warrant a criminal charge.
"Our side of the conversation was that there was definitely a fine line between inappropriate actions by a professional educator and actions that would constitute, or fall under the definition of criminal behavior and or child abuse," Cordeiro said.
DHHR spokeswoman Marsha Dadisman said she could not confirm or deny that a DHHR representative had found that the criminal allegations were baseless.
The email also confirms that Moffett is still employed within the school system, though he apparently works out of an off-site office in the maintenance department. His duties include analysis of reports on energy consumption, test preparation, and safety, the email states.
"You may contact him either at the Maintenance Department or via e-mail to lend your support," Dickens writes in the email.