Melanie Pickens, 34, has pleaded not guilty to abusing five students while she was a teacher at Hopewell Middle School in Milton, according to Judge Henry Newkirk's chambers. Pickens also waived her right to a preliminary hearing.
A Fulton County grand jury indicted Pickens in December on 11 counts of cruelty to children and false imprisonment. According to investigators, Pickens abused nonverbal disabled students between 2004 and 2007 by shoving them into lockers and walls, pushing them and restraining and isolating them for hours in a dark room.
CBS Atlanta began reporting on the abuse beginning in August 2011. Parents of the special needs students claimed Fulton County Schools officials covered up the abuse for years.
Teachers and school personnel said they had reported Pickens to school administrators but that nothing was done to stop the abuse.
In 2007, the district hired an outside investigator who substantiated the abuse in report.
Pickens resigned from the district in 2007.
Pickens' next court appearance has not been scheduled.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:52 PM EDT2013-05-22 21:52:07 GMT
Newton County Animal Control confirms that a fox bit two children on the playground of Rocky Plains Elementary School around 11 a.m. Officials set up a trap in the area, but the fox has not been caught. CBSMore >
Newton County Animal Control confirms that a fox bit two children on the playground of Rocky Plains Elementary School at about 11 a.m.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:39 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:39:41 GMT
A Decatur woman who was out with friends in Nashville, Tennessee during a bachelorette party is recovering at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, after being hit by a suspected drunk driver the nightMore >
A Decatur woman who was out with friends in Nashville, Tennessee during a bachelorette party is recovering at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, after being hit by a suspected drunk driver the night of the party.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 7:39 AM EDT2013-05-24 11:39:32 GMT
Palmetto police department is investigating an attempted abduction that occurred Wednesday afternoon. A 13 year old male got off of the school bus along Carlton Road and stated to police that a man approachedMore >
Palmetto Police Department is investigating an attempted abduction that occurred Wednesday afternoon. More >
Friday, May 24 2013 1:27 PM EDT2013-05-24 17:27:13 GMT
It only took a Fulton County jury one hour to reach a guilty verdict against Michael Parson, 40. Prosecutors said Michael Parson shot his wife Adina eight times outside their Sandy Springs home in AprilMore >
Jurors sentenced the Sandy Springs man found guilty of attempted murder to a maximum of 35 years in jail.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 2:31 AM EDT2013-05-24 06:31:07 GMT
Jodi Arias (Source: CBS 5 News)
It is now in the hands of the 12 jurors to decide if Jodi Arias will live her life behind bars or if she'll be executed. The defense and prosecution gave their closing statement Tuesday afternoon andMore >
The judge has declared a mistrial in the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial. The jury announced late Thursday afternoon that they could not reach a unanimous decision on life or death for Arias.More >