Elementary Teacher Resigns After Child Abuse Arrest

PONCE DE LEON – A Holmes County teacher has resigned following his arrest for paddling a student.

The Sheriff’s Office arrested Ryan Leavins on a charge of felony child abuse Friday. They say Leavins, who taught ESE at Ponce de Leon Elementary School, admitted he paddled a 5-year-old handicap student on multiple occasions.

According to the affidavit obtained by Newschannel 7, deputies were called to the school on September 4 in reference to a teacher paddling a handicap child. When they got there, the child’s parent and grandfather were at the school. Deputies asked Leavins to come down to the Sheriff’s Office to make a statement.

Leavins told deputies he asked the child several times to stop disturbing class. He then showed the child a paddle, hoping that would settle him down. When that didn’t work, Leavins says he took the boy outside three times and gave him a total of five whacks on the butt. The spankings caused “visible physical injuries to the buttocks area.”

Superintendent Eddie Dixon placed Leavins on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The case was then turned over to the Department of Children and Families and the Holmes County Sheriff’s office.

“The safety and security of our students is our highest priority,” said Dixon. “It is unfortunate that this situation occurred.”

Leavins resigned Friday after his arrest. The school board accepted his resignation at their meeting Tuesday night.

Leavins is scheduled to be arraigned November 6. He has not returned our call for a comment.