DHS principal files assault complaint

September 16, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

Danville High School Principal Joseph Payne signed criminal complaints Wednesday against a Danville woman and her daughter who were involved in an altercation at the school in which Payne was struck over the head with a cane.

The complaints charge Pearlie Baskin, 54, of 936 Westwood Court, with second-degree assault, a felony, and abuse of a teacher, a misdemeanor. Baskin's daughter, Felicia Baskin, age and address unavailable, was accused in the complaints of abuse of a teacher and menacing, both misdemeanors.

The complaints were forwarded to Boyle County District Judge Jeff Dotson this morning for review, said Assistant Danville Police Chief Jay Newell. Dotson, who wasn't due in his Boyle County office until this afternoon, could issue arrest warrants for the two women, issue criminal summons ordering them to appear in court, or return the complaints unsigned, effectively dismissing the charges, Newell said.

Payne said this morning that he felt compelled to sign the complaints because he felt responsible for ensuring the safety of the DHS campus.


"My motivation is that I want this to be a safety-first building and I want us to get back about our business," Payne said, declining to comment any further on the matter.

Payne, 51, who is in his first year as DHS principal, received nine stitches to close a wound after Pearlie Baskin hit him over the head with her metal cane. Payne stepped in the middle of a confrontation between the Baskin and a male student who Pearlie Baskin said had been repeatedly harassing her granddaughter. The altercation happened outside the front doors of the school just before 1 p.m. Monday.

Baskin said in a telephone interview Wednesday that she accidentally hit Payne while trying to defend herself from the male student, who had hit her twice before Payne intervened.

"He was coming over the principal still swinging at me when I was trying to hit him. I wasn't trying to hit nobody but him," Baskin said. "I was not trying to hit that principal. I got nothing against him. He seems to be a nice principal."

Baskin said she and her daughter were at the school Monday to meet with administrators over an earlier fight between her granddaughter and another female student that was instigated by the male student. Baskin said her granddaughter was suspended for 10 days while the other girl only received in-school suspension, which the Baskins felt was "unfair." Payne said he couldn't comment on the suspensions.

After the meeting concluded, Baskin said she and her daughter were leaving the school when they saw the male student outside the front door.

"I said 'Why do you keep jumping on my girls,' and he said 'Get out of my face.' He hit me in the hand and I hit him in the hand. He shoved me and I shoved him," Baskin said.

Baskin said the male student had been bothering her granddaughter since school began and that she and her daughter had been to the school twice before Monday's incident to discuss the situation, but didn't get the matter resolved and it was getting worse. Baskin said she was concerned about her granddaughter's safety. "We had been up there two times before and couldn't get nothing done," she said. "They just need to do something with this boy."

Baskin signed a juvenile complaint for assault against the male student on Monday after the incident. She said Wednesday that she expected that Payne would file a similar complaint against her. "I'm waiting for them (to charge me)," Baskin said. "That's up to them. They're going to do whatever they've got to do. I was just trying to protect myself. I had already received two blows and I'm 50-something years old. I didn't want to go up to the school and fight with no children but it was unavoidable."

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