Huntsville City School Board Member Michelle Watkins acquitted on harassment charge

Huntsville City School Board Member Michelle Watkins has been acquitted on a harassment charge.

Posted: Mar 29, 2019 10:14 AM
Updated: Mar 29, 2019 7:57 PM

Huntsville City School Board Member Michelle Watkins has been acquitted on a harassment charge.

Watkins appeared in court Friday morning. The hearing lasted nearly two hours before the judge made the decision. 

She was arrested in late December, after Rolling Hills Elementary School Principal Linda Burruss said Watkins verbally harassed her at a Safety Forum meeting at Jemison High School in October. Watkins is the school board member over Burruss' school.

"It was just a disagreement between two adult individuals. We just had a disagreement and a difference of opinions. A difference of this opinion had the result of this person getting a citizen warrant against me," Watkins said.

Surveillance video from inside and outside the school shows Burruss and Watkins talking, however, there is no audio to say what the verbal altercation is about. Watkins didn't want to share what the conversation was about.

"We were in a heated conversation, that's it," Watkins said.

Watkins said she was confident she would be found not guilty of the harassment charge, and she said the entire incident was embarrassing for her family and friends. 

"You can't ration with an irrational person. This was an irrational move. It was manipulative. It was calculated. It was done on purpose to get me out of this position," she said.

Watkins released a statement proclaiming her innocence after her arrest.

On Friday, Watkins said the case won't impact her support for Rolling Hills Elementary School. 

"I ran for this position for students. I have to remember one thing: I can't take everything personal," she said. 

The school board member also said she and Burruss have worked together many times in the past. 

"She has called me. She has had problems. She has had situations where she's needed assistance. I was always there for her. If today, she called me and needed assistance then I would still be there and make sure those students have what they need," Watkins said.

Huntsville police never pressed charges in the case due to lack of evidence. Burruss obtained a warrant for Watkins' arrest through a magistrate. 

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