Cumberland County teacher charged with assault on student explains her version of events

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- A Cumberland County teacher was arrested and charged with assault on a student, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

The sheriff's office said 36-year-old Kristian Joy Cook, a teacher at Howard Learning Academy, reportedly assaulted a minor student by grabbing her by the throat and pushing her into a table.

A short time later Cook reportedly grabbed the minor victim by the hair and pulled her backward, forcing her to the ground.

After an investigation into the March 21 incident, detectives charged Cook with two counts of simple assault. Cook turned herself in Tuesday at the Sheriff's Office, where she was arrested and taken to the detention center.

Cook, who lives in Fayetteville, was released on $1,000 unsecured bond.

Tuesday evening, Cook spoke to ABC11 and gave her side of the incident.

"I'm not taking away or justify anything that I did," she said. "I wish there was something I could've done differently."

Cook said the student was being unruly before the incident happened.

"She had drop-kicked the trashcan full of breakfast food and chocolate milk all over me that morning," Cook said. "I mean it was all over the walls.

Cook said she's innocent until proven guilty.

In fact, she said she was only doing what the school district told her to.

"They tell us we need to do everything we can to keep these children in control to keep them in the classroom," Cook said. "They said if they are out of control we have the right to put our hands on them to control them,"

Cook told ABC11 that it wasn't the child's parents who pressed charges, rather it was the school district.

Cook was hired as an exceptional child substitute teacher on Jan. 25, 2016. She was suspended with pay on March 21 and resigned her position with the school on March 28.
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