Gibson found guilty of harassment, still must face school board By Lindsey Sherrill, staff writer
Published 7:35 am Wednesday, July 16, 2003
A case that has drawn much attention since April has been resolved in city court.
Kimberly Gibson, an Escambia County Middle School teacher charged with harassment for allegedly slapping a student, was declared guilty Monday of harassment by City Judge Bert Rice and fined $125.
Harassment is defined by Alabama law as an offense with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm, shove, strike, or kick, or otherwise touch the victim.
The case began, witnesses said, when Gibson slapped a student, Justin Boykin, when he refused to give her a note he had been passed by another student.
"It's very unfortunate," said Everette Price, Gibson's attorney. "What was clearly an accidental situation became a criminal situation."
Price said that he will recommend to his client that she appeal.
The city's attorney, David Anderson, said he was pleased with the ruling.
"The judge made the correct ruling based on the evidence. I was firmly convinced that she [Gibson] committed the crime of harassment," said Anderson.
"Mr. Price focused on the slight degree of the touching in the defense," Anderson continued, "But it is important that in order to be harassment there may be no injury. All you have to do is touch someone with that intent. I believe that it is obvious Mrs. Gibson's actions were in line with the intent to commit harassment."
Gibson had no comment.
The Escambia County School board has yet to make a decision regarding Gibson.
Gibson is a tenured teacher with 13 years of service, six of them at Escambia County Middle School.
Should Gibson choose to appeal, she will appear in court at 2:30 p.m. on July 28.