Officials: Schools’ reaction proper

Published 12:05 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

Authorities involved in the investigation of a middle school teacher accused of rape and sodomy said school officials explicitly followed system procedures in place to protect children.

In a press conference yesterday afternoon, superintendent Ted Watson said that school officials reacted immediately when they learned of a possible inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student.

Watson said the system has cooperated with the Andalusia Police Department, Department of Human Resources and the District Attorney’s office.

“We take our role as protectors of Andalusia City Schools’ students very seriously,” Watson said.

He said that while all people are innocent until proven guilty, “if we have any evidence that anyone preys on any of our students, they will dealt with seriously and quickly.”

Thirty-one-year-old Amy Caudle, a special education student at Andalusia Middle School is being held on a $1 million bond in the Covington County Jail and is accused of rape and sodomy in a case involving three students.

Watson said counseling is available to students if it is needed. The school system has placed her on administrative leave.

“The investigation is fresh, and we are still in fact digging in to things,” Watson said. “We want everything brought to a conclusion and will make sure everybody and anybody who has been done wrong is taken care of.”

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said that while ”everything can be Monday morning quarterbacked,” there were no red flags in this case that could have been caught earlier.

“The policies and procedures and safeguards in place to protect children functioned,” Williams said.

Watson said Caudle has taught in the city school system for three years and has no prior criminal record.

According to the Andalusia Middle School Web site, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice from Troy University in 2005. She completed a master’s in collaborative education at the University of South Alabama in 2009.