DECATUR -- A former Decatur teacher has been found not guilty by a jury of the misdemeanor battery of a 3-year-old male student.
The Macon County Circuit Court trial of Joanna Stanick, 46, had lasted all day Monday. The jury retired at 9:18 a.m. Tuesday and was back with its verdict 43 minutes later in the case brought by the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Stanick had been a teacher at the Anna Waters Head Start Program. She was accused in November 2017 of battery using a wooden pointer stick; Stanick was first suspended from her job and later fired.
“We’re very happy with the verdict today, and know that justice was done,” said her attorney, Douglas Johnson of the Bloomington-based Johnson Law Group.
But he said the battle to get full justice for his client would continue. Johnson said the Decatur woman was found at fault by the Department of Children and Family Services, which also investigated the incident. Johnson said she is now precluded from working in the teaching field for five years.
He said the DCFS decision was particularly ironic for Stanick, who was raised as a foster child and obtained a college scholarship from DCFS. “We’re going to do everything we can to restore her ability to continue teaching,” added Johnson. “DCFS simply got it wrong.”