Hodge was on the council during a period that could be considered a low point in city history; between and businesses fled town, infrastructure deteriorated, the city-owned football field on First Street practically collapsed , various employees were arrested, and former City Manager Johnnie Arnold abused and antagonized municipal workers unchecked. If school leaders had any idea what Hodge was doing and turned a blind eye, LaFayette High School could be in some serious trouble. On November 4, Hodge pled guilty to having sex with the year-old student on at least two occasions during Several days later he resigned from his position at the school. The now former teacher was previously arrested in , with two other coaches and another man, for smelling of alcohol at a football game in Dalton.
If the two counts of sexual assault against Hodge make it to court and a judge or jury find him guilty, the former educator could spend between one and twenty-five years in jail or on probation. On November 4, Hodge pled guilty to having sex with the year-old student on at least two occasions during If accusations end up being true, and students were aware of his sexual activity with a peer before the arrest, other educators also likely knew of it too. It should go without saying but apparently has to be said — parents talk to your children girls AND boys these days about boundaries and relationships with authority figures. Sadly, the lengthy piece turned out to be more prophetic than anyone anticipated. Norm Hodge has been a role-model for many in the town for years, and his current alleged behavior is also being observed and likely to be copied. Taking this seriously, treating Hodge the same way anyone else would be treated in the same situation, and handling the accusations in an appropriate way is the only way we can move forward without making things worse or encouraging more incidents like this in the future. Despite his well publicized arrest, the people of LaFayette reelected Hodge to his City Council seat in This is the same section of law prohibiting jailers from sleeping with prisoners and doctors from sleeping with hospital patients. With sexting almost a given among some groups of teens, teachers should also be given guidelines about sharing phone numbers with students. Would administrators have actually tolerated a teacher involved in a sexual relationship with a student? The now former teacher was previously arrested in , with two other coaches and another man, for smelling of alcohol at a football game in Dalton. The case is now over. Hodge also cast the tie-breaker vote for hiring Tommy Freeman, whose time as Police Chief was an absolute disaster. Redwine was allowed to resign his position at WCSO, which kept his record clean and left doors open for him to work in law enforcement elsewhere. Our community is also lousy at punishing people once their deeds are found out. The student allegedly involved is over the age of legal consent, 17 years old, and willingly some say eagerly got into a relationship with the year-old teacher — but Georgia law defines physical relationships between K students and teachers of any age as sexual assault, regardless of consent or coercion. Non-criminal incidents include City Manager Arnold and Police Chief Freeman, both of whom mistreated employees for years until media attention on their behavior became impossible to ignore. Elected leaders who ignore abuses and give out wrist-slaps once misdeeds are uncovered also generally get a pass from constituents. If school leaders had any idea what Hodge was doing and turned a blind eye, LaFayette High School could be in some serious trouble. If other teachers and administrators did know about this ahead of time, they might also face punishment or loss of teachers licenses — and deservedly so. Hodge was on the council during a period that could be considered a low point in city history; between and businesses fled town, infrastructure deteriorated, the city-owned football field on First Street practically collapsed , various employees were arrested, and former City Manager Johnnie Arnold abused and antagonized municipal workers unchecked. Hodge has worked for Walker County Schools in academic and athletic positions for over a decade. Several days later he resigned from his position at the school. He was an assistant coach for Ramblers football and basketball before leaving in to coach Ridgeland Lady Panthers basketball , then returned to LHS a few years later to run the golf program. Not just for student protection, but for their own liability.
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