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CAROLINE CROSSROADS Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
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Former JV coach facing assault and battery charges

By TAFT COGHILL JR.

A Caroline High School math teacher is facing assault and battery charges in connection to an incident with a 16-year-old male student that was caught on videotape.

Nathaniel Mewborn was charged Wednesday with assault and battery. He was not taken into custody, according to Maj. Scott Moser with the Caroline Sheriff’s Office.

Mewborn lost his job as the junior varsity football team’s head coach after the August incident which occurred in the school’s parking lot.

The Caroline junior wasn’t an active varsity or junior varsity player, but was working toward possibly playing.

The boy’s mother, Dana Pankey, said she initially didn’t want to file criminal charges against Mewborn because he lost his job as coach and would have to deal with scrutiny as a teacher at the school.

But Pankey said last night she changed her mind after viewing a videotape of the incident, which was filmed by a school bus camera.

Pankey was shown the video at a meeting with Caroline County Public Schools administrators last week.

She said the video shows her son walking on the bus without wearing a shirt. Pankey said after the bus driver implored him to put on a T-shirt, her son got off the bus to look for his shirt. He returned three minutes later after discovering his shirt wasn’t outside, and was going to search for it on the bus.

Pankey said after her son and another boy was talking in the aisle, Mewborn approached him from behind. She said as Mewborn tugged on the back of her son’s pants, her son put his hands in the air, turned around and asked “Man, what are you doing?”

She said moments later her son turned around to walk off the bus, but Mewborn tackled him into a seat behind the bus driver. Pankey said her son told her he temporarily “blacked out” when he hit his head on the edge of a  window in the seat.

“You can see the coach’s back up in the air and he’s on top of my son,” Pankey said. “You can hear my son hollering ‘Get off me. You’re hurting me. I can’t breathe.’ That’s when they stopped the tape.”

Pankey said administrators supported Mewborn at their meeting. She said they told her one could get the impression her son was aggressive toward Mewborn.

“I’m like ‘Are you looking at the same video we’re sitting here looking at,’” Pankey said.

Pankey said she felt uneasy after seeing the tape because administrators ended it with Mewborn on top of her son. She said she doesn’t know how much longer he remained there. She said she was told that after her son was helped off the bus, Mewborn removed his shirt and aggressively approached him in the parking lot.

Pankey said she was denied a copy of the tape by Caroline administrators because other children are on it. She said she plans to hire a lawyer and pursue a copy.

Caroline Assistant Superintendent Eric Cunningham initially called the incident “unprofessional” but said there was no evidence it turned physical.

Mewborn replied “not to my knowledge” when asked by a reporter last month if the incident was physical, but declined to answer additional questions.

Cunningham said tonight that Mewborn will remain a teacher at the school while facing the charges. He said the school system will release a statement later this week regarding the incident, but won’t comment further because it’s a personnel issue.

It is unclear when Mewborn will appear in court.

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/carolinecrossroads/2011/09/18/former-jv-coach-facing-assault-and-battery-charges/