Crime & Courts

Nation Ford High assistant principal faces criminal charges from 2013 arrest in Georgia

A Fort Mill school administrator from Rock Hill is facing charges related to an incident in Georgia late last year.

Ernest Poag, an assistant principal at Nation Ford High School, was arrested Dec. 23, 2013, and charged with simple battery and third-degree cruelty to children, according to the Sandy Springs Police Department in Sandy Springs, Ga. Details about the arrest were not immediately available.

Poag wouldn’t discuss the arrest other than to say he informed the Fort Mill School District about it and he expects the charges to eventually be dropped.

“I had a discussion about it with the district office; they are aware of my situation,” Poag said Thursday.

“It will be resolved at a particular time. It’s a process and once the process is complete, the state of Georgia is not expected to proceed with the case. Other than that, I can not comment any further.”

His lawyer, Atlanta-based attorney Corey Bowles, also wouldn’t provide details of the arrest. Asked about the alleged victim in the case, Bowles would only say “as far as I know, it was someone known to him.”

Bowles said he expects the charges to be dropped after Poag completes unspecified counseling.

“The state has agreed to not pursue the case as long as some kind of counseling is completed,” Bowles said. “Based on the strength of case, they don’t anticipate it (going forward).”

He didn’t provide any specifics about the counseling.

Bowles said there are no court dates scheduled on the case but that “a status check” will be done by the court sometime in April.

“It’s just to make sure everything is OK,” Bowles said.

Kelly McKinney, media and communications officer for the Fort Mill School District, said she couldn’t answer questions about Poag because the district won’t discuss anything considered “a personal matter.”

She did email a statement from the district that said in part: “In the event of allegations related to any employee, the school district conducts an independent and thorough investigation of our own. Based on our findings, we can assure the public and our school community that we always take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and our students.”

Details of Poag’s employment history with the school district were not immediately available. According to his LinkedIn profile, Poag has been an assistant principal in the district since 2001. Prior to that, he was a math instructor from 1995 to 2001 in the Rock Hill School District and taught at Rebound Alternative School for his first two years in the Rock Hill School District, according to his profile.