A 13-year-old Pensacola boy was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge after 17 witnesses allegedly saw him strike his sixth-grade science teacher at Bellivew Middle School, according to law enforcement.
The teenager, Scottie Motton, and his mother, Katie Rogers, have both publicly refuted the accusations, claiming the teen did not strike the teacher. Instead, they say the teacher is the one who hit the teenager without provocation.
Motton, of Pensacola, was charged with battery on a teacher and taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after turning himself into the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
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He was transferred into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice on Wednesday evening before being released into his mother's custody later that night, according to Rogers.
Escambia County School District spokesman Cody Strother responded to News Journal inquires about the incident in a written statement.
"The district has been made aware of the alleged incident. It is currently an open investigation and while as such, no other information can be shared," the statement said.
The incident that led to Motton's arrest occurred during an early-afternoon science class at Bellview Middle School on Jan. 12.
Escambia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Hobbs told the News Journal that "17 students were interviewed during this investigation, and it was determined that the student battered the teacher."
Hobbs said the conflict resulted from a conversation between Motton and his teacher.
"During their conversation, (the teacher) tells him to go sit back down," Hobbs said. "He comes back up, grabs her up by the back of the hair and pushes her against a whiteboard. During that interaction, he pulls her mask and glasses off her face and batters her. So, she slaps him to get him off of her in self-defense."
After the teacher struck Motton in his face, Hobbs said Motton ceased his assault and moved away from his teacher.
Hobbs noted an ECSO school resource officer stationed at Bellview Middle School was immediately contacted following the incident and quickly opened an investigation into it.
A report was taken Jan. 12 after the school's SRO concluded his investigation into the incident.
Information pertaining to the time and date that a judge signed an arrest warrant was not immediately available, according to the ECSO.
"Sometimes it takes a couple days to get it signed," Hobbs said.
Motton's mother claims the teacher was the aggressor
Rogers claims she had no knowledge that her son was being investigated by the ECSO or that allegations of his hitting his teacher even existed until she was contacted by law enforcement Wednesday afternoon — when she said she was first informed that a warrant had been issued for her son's arrest.
Still, Roger told the News Journal on Thursday morning that her son's arrest had not changed her perspective on the incident. She continued to believe her son was unwarrantedly struck by his teacher and her son was the one who had been wronged.
For Rogers, the story begins before the incident itself even took place. Rogers claims Motton's teacher called her the night before the incident on the evening of Jan. 11.
"This teacher and also another teacher, they call me all the time, and this teacher called me the night before. This teacher cannot stand him," Rogers said. "She cannot stand him because he wears hoodies."
During their alleged Jan. 11 phone conversation, Rogers claims the teacher told her that she had recently seen Motton wearing a hoodie in the school hallway.
Rogers claims the teacher went on to say that if Motton were her own child, she would take a pair of scissors and cut off the hoods of all hooded sweatshirts she sees any teenager wearing at Bellview Middle School.
"And I told her, 'I'm at work, and he's not even in school today. So, you have a good day,'" Rogers recalled. "Then, the next day, she slapped my child."
Motton told the News Journal that for him, the whole thing started toward the end of his science class.
"I think she was trying to get the whole class out of there before she did it to me," he said. "She dismissed the whole class. She dismissed them. She told me to sit back down. Then, she told me again. Then when everybody was walking out, she grabbed me by my shirt. She slapped me."
Rogers was called to the school and immediately notified a large bruise on her son's face.
"I saw a whole (slap) print on his face. You could see it; she had rings on all her fingers. That's like hitting him with brass knuckles, that's why it bruised like that," Rogers recalled. "I took him to the emergency room that next day because it was swollen."
Rogers said the school's principal confirmed to her that Motton had been slapped by his teacher.
According to Rogers, the principal said she had called DCF, the school district and "alerted the proper authorities and that this matter was handled," Rogers noted. "I said to her, ‘Well, thank you, and I appreciate you for saving me some steps.'"
However, Rogers noted that neither the principal nor anyone else ever told her about the accusations of her son hitting the teacher until the day of his arrest.
Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8680.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Pensacola teen accused of battering teacher Bellview Middle teacher