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A former teacher’s assistant who was charged almost a year ago with allegedly striking a student with disabilities was found not guilty of the charge on Thursday, Jan. 15 in McDowell County Superior Court.

In February of last year, Anjanette Rebekah Myers, then 44, of U.S. 70 West in Marion, was charged by Lt. Andy Manis of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office with assault on an individual with a disability. At the time of the incident, Myers was a teacher’s assistant at West Marion Elementary School in the Exceptional Children’s department. She was accused of striking a 9-year-old student on the side of the head on Feb. 7. Officials with McDowell County Schools learned of the incident and notified the Sheriff’s Office for further investigation. Myers was subsequently charged on Feb. 21, according to a news release from last year.

Her trial was held in McDowell County Superior Court and the jury found her not guilty on Thursday, Jan. 15.

Attorney A. Michael Edwards represented Myers in the trial.

“For 35 years, I have trusted McDowell County juries to do the right thing…as they always do,” said Edwards to The McDowell News about the verdict. “I told Anjanette to trust our jury to find the truth and her faith proved worth her year-long wait for justice.

“We are disappointed in this charge being brought in the first place, and, in the rush to judgment by the investigators and by our school system, which, within days of the charge, terminated a well-respected teacher with 20 years experience working with exceptional needs children. This decision was based on an allegation which took a jury under 20 minutes to reject. As I told the jurors, McDowell County is better than that. Anjanette is so thankful to our jury for giving her the chance to rebuild her career and life.”

In February of last year, Myers’ employment with McDowell County Schools was terminated upon an investigation and notification of the charges.

As for the possibility of Myers being reinstated in her job, Edwards said she has not been rehired by the school system and “from what we are advised she will not be reinstated in McDowell.”

Cydney Joyner, who was the assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case both in District and Superior Court, provided The McDowell News with the following statement:

“Anjanette Myers’ case was heard in McDowell County Superior Court during the first week of the January 13 trial term,” reads Joyner’s statement. “While we presented all of the available evidence to the jury, they ultimately found Ms. Myers not guilty of assault on an individual with disabilities. I would like to thank Detective Andy Manis for his diligent work on the case, the witnesses that came forward for their testimony and the members of the jury for their time and attention to this case.”

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