FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta school is responding after allegations of abuse by a district employee surfaced on YouTube.
The 8 minute-long clip, posted by user Eva Berger on Aug. 8, outlines what Berger described as stalking and sexual assault by a Riverwood International Charter School teacher from 2014. 11Alive was made aware of the video after a viewer tip to the newsroom.
Berger said she met the teacher, whom 11Alive is not naming as he has not been charged with a crime, during a summer program before she started attending the high school.
"Right away, he made me feel so smart," Berger said. But she said he also began to make her feel uncomfortable on the first day.
Berger described how she was on crutches and needed to use the stairs to get to and from her classroom. But after declining assistance from the teacher, she said he put his hand around her waist anyway and attempted to carry her down the stairs.
Throughout the year, Berger said, she felt the teacher went out of his way to touch her hands when exchanging a pencil or an agenda and putting his hand on her shoulder. In one instance, Berger said, the teacher went to correct her posture and put his hands "basically on my butt," she described.
But she said it went as far as following her every move – from following her around the school to following her on social media and bringing her tweets up to her.
"I would hide in the bathrooms, I would hide from him any way that I could," she said.
Berger said it culminated in an incident in which the teacher allegedly touched her inappropriately under the table during a study period while other classmates were distracted with their school work.
"In that moment, I was frozen," she recounted. "In that moment, you want to scream, but you are frozen."
Berger said she was 14 years old at the time and didn't really understand what was happening, but after that incident, she said she went to her mom and the principal. Berger said she eventually switched schools, but the teacher remained.
In the video, Berger said she reported the incident to the police, but there was not enough evidence to move forward. 11Alive reached out to Sandy Springs Police, who said because it happened on school grounds, it would be a Fulton County Schools Police matter.
11Alive reached out to the district's police department, who deferred to the school district for comment.
In an Aug. 9 letter to parents, Riverwood's principal Charles W. Gardner said staff was aware of the video alleging the inappropriate conduct by a staff member from several years ago. Gardner said the required reports were made and multiple law enforcement agencies investigated the incident, but were unable to substantiate the claims.
"Please knew that we take all reports of inappropriate conduct seriously and will always follow district and state procedures for reporting and investigating," the statement closed.
The district said they wouldn't comment further.
11Alive's Ron Jones spoke to Berger over the phone who said she recorded the video with the hopes that it goes viral in this era of #MeToo and so that she could expose what the teacher did.
"The damage is already done with me, but I know I can help other people because I know this man is dangerous and I know he's in a room full of kids everyday," Berger said.