P.E. teacher investigated for assault on student

P.E. teacher investigated for assault on student

Posted: Updated: Oct 9, 2013 07:02 PM CDT
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -

A Rutherford County wrestling coach was arrested Wednesday for assaulting a female student.

Ronnie Bray, a physical education teacher at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, is suspended from the school without pay.

According to the mother of the 15-year-old student, Bray physically assaulted her daughter, threw her down on the ground, straddled and punched her.

Beverly Akins says the assault occurred last week in front of an entire gym full of students.

"I got a phone call from my daughter that her coach hit her.  He was mad because she didn't hit a volleyball, so when she didn't hit the volleyball, he got mad at her and hit her and messed up her hair, put his arm around her, put her in a choke hold and slammed her to the floor," Akins explained.

She continued, "He got on top of her, straddled her hip, and started beating her arm.  He said get up and he was still hitting her in the arm.  He had a trigger point, like he snapped."

Bray, 38, of Murfreesboro, was charged with simple assault Wednesday after the mother obtained the arrest warrant.

"He emotionally scarred my daughter. You just don't go around hitting children if you are a teacher," Akins said. "She's scared to go to school now. She doesn't feel safe."

In a statement, Director of Schools Don Odom called the conduct "unbecoming" for a "member of the teaching profession."

To investigators with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department, Bray described the incident as "a horse play situation" and added that he "had no intentions of hurting the student."

Akins added her daughter was not physically injured during the incident, but is suffering mentally and emotionally.

"Mentally, yes, she is not herself at all. She is withdrawn, not hanging out with her friends. She hangs around me all the time. She cries and she goes to her bedroom," she said.

Akins said she is pleased with the swift action by Rutherford County School District leaders, but has strong words for Bray.

"I hope he never teaches again," she said. "I hope he loses his license. I hope he is never allowed around children again."

According to other media outlets, Murfreesboro police investigated Coach Bray last year.

Bray was accused of making his wrestlers bend over striking them on the back of the neck as a form of discipline.  Police closed their investigation and the coach was cleared.

Bray was booked into Rutherford County jail on $1,500 bond.  He is scheduled to appear in court November 12.

News 2's efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

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