Charter school debate gets physical - WLTZ 38 | Columbus Georgia Regional News & Community

Charter school debate gets physical

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Atlanta, GA (WXIA) - A debate in Georgia over whether voters should approve a new Charter Schools Commission could turn criminal.

This week, it became physical and now one group wants a leader of the other side to go to jail.

Heated words were exchanged by both sides of the charter schools amendment battle at the State Capitol on Tuesday. It happened after pro amendment forces crashed a news conference called by opponents. At one point, they pushed each other around while jockying with their signs.

Jones said, "I've never had a press conference that's been ambushed like this."

State Senator Emanuel Jones of Decatur and some Georgia PTA officials accused pro amendment forces of shameful, strong arm tactics. Specifically, they called this alleged shoving of PTA lobbyist Sally Fitzgerald an act of criminal battery by charter schools association vice president Andrew Lewis.

Fitzgerald said, "We're 48 hours out, heard nothing, he's toast."

The PTA lobbyist filed a formal complaint with state capitol police, claiming news media video of the incident proves Lewis should face criminal charges.

"What I would personally like to see is Mr. Andrew Lewis in prison. I would like to see him arrested," Jones explained.

The charter school association's Lewis issued a written response saying, "I was attempting to stand between a passionate parent and a lobbyist...obviously, it caused the lobbyist to lose their balance, and for that I apologize, he added."

Meanwhile, State Capitol police are still looking into whether what happened was criminal battery, which is a misdemeanor.

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