looneywilliamson Williamson County Schools
Mike Looney, superintendent of Williamson County Schools

Superintendent in Tennessee district faces assault charge involving student and parent

Williamson County Superintendent Mike Looney is charged after he allegedly intervened while police were dealing with a troubled student and her mother

The superintendent of the Williamson County (Tenn.) district has been charged with assault after an encounter with a student at Franklin High School.

The Nashville Tennesseean reports that Franklin police and paramedics were dispatched to Franklin High Tuesday to deal with a psychological emergency involving a student.

Police say that while they were working with the student, the student’s mother and school staff members to take the student to the hospital, Mike Looney, superintendent of schools in Williamson County, abruptly entered the conference room, grabbed the student by her arm, and forced her out of the school and to his vehicle. 

Officers stepped in to remove the student from Looney's car and had on-scene paramedics transport the student to the emergency room for evaluation.

The Williamson County magistrate subsequently issued an arrest warrant that charged Looney with assault, police say. 

Looney is free on a $1,500 bond. He returned to work Thursday morning.

District spokeswoman Carol Birdsong says the charge against the superintendent was not deserved.

"There were multiple witnesses on hand who dispute this accusation of simple assault, and we believe this charge is without merit and will not stand," Birdsong says.

But in an affidavit of complaint filed by police, officers say Looney acted in an "aggressive" manner and "attempted to intervene" with them after they responded to Franklin High.  

Officers Steve Rich and Dwayne Burress were dispatched to the school because a student's mother had requested that her child be transported to a hospital. 

"Dr. Looney placed himself between the officer and the student, and stated the juvenile would be taken to his office," Burress wrote. "Dr. Looney told the student he would not have a scene at the school and told her to stop crying." 

Looney escorted the student to his own vehicle over the objection of the student's mother, Burress wrote. The two officers then removed the child from Looney's vehicle. 

"Dr. Looney attempted to intervene and attempted to direct the officers in their actions," Burress wrote. "Dr. Looney was aggressive in his action toward the mother of the juvenile and encroached on her personal space causing the child's mother to feel fearful for her safety."


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