Student charged with assault on school employee protests her expulsion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Holly Fesperman Lee

Salisbury Post

An East Rowan High School student accused of assaulting an assistant principal says people have exaggerated what she did and she doesn’t deserve to be expelled from school.

Her mother also denies charges that she tried to block her daughter’s arrest and refused to leave campus.

Amber Hancock, 16, of 120 Stonefield Lane, is charged with assault on a school employee after shoving Assistant Principal Joe Gala.

According to the report, Gala was escorting Hancock to the school office after she’d been involved in a hallway fight.

Hancock said the incident between her and another student, Kisha Plyer, stemmed from rumors Plyer started about her.

Hancock told a Post reporter she was asking Plyer why she started the rumors when Gala moved toward their area of the hallway.

As Gala approached, Plyer used vulgar words to tell Gala to get Hancock away from her, according to Hancock.

Hancock said Gala told Plyer she wasn’t going to use that kind of foul language and started to escort her to the office. Hancock admits that she grabbed Plyer and threw her to the ground, but denies striking her with a closed fist and punching her, as the report states.

According to Hancock, Gala grabbed her around the neck with his forearm and choked her. When the alleged assault on Gala occurred, Hancock said, “I was shoving his arms away from my neck.”

Hancock said she didn’t hit Gala and that she only touched him because he was choking her.

“Mr. Gala did not choke her,” said Kelly Sparger, East Rowan High School principal.

According to Sparger, two teachers witnessed the incident and will not corroborate Hancock’s story.

Hancock said she was willing to take a lie detector test to prove she didn’t punch Plyer or hit Gala.

According to Rowan County Sheriff’s Lt. John Sifford, Hancock’s mother, Dawn Hancock, was called to come get her daughter from school.

Before Dawn Hancock arrived at the school, resource officer Deputy Ryan Walker put Amber Hancock under arrest for assault.

When Dawn Hancock arrived at East Rowan High, Sifford said she told Walker that “he was not going to take her daughter anywhere.”

“Apparently she went out of control, herself. She was asked to leave the campus on four different occasions and didn’t comply,” Sifford said.

Dawn Hancock has been charged with criminal trespass. According to Hancock, she arrived at the school, saw her daughter in handcuffs and asked what was going on.

“All I wanted to know was what happened,” Hancock said.

Hancock said Gala attempted to tell her what was going on but Walker prevented them from talking by shouting at her to leave. Walker told her she’d find out what was going on when she picked her daughter up from jail, according to Hancock.

Hancock said Walker continued to scream at her until she left.

She’s filed a complaint against Walker with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff George Wilhelm said he couldn’t discuss the complaint against Walker because it involved a personnel matter.

Contact Holly Lee at 704-797-7683 or