School Knew of Previous Arrest of Coach Now Facing Battery Charge

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A school in Georgia said it was aware of a previous arrest on suspicion of violence by a coach before the school hired her. The head girls basketball coach is now facing charges in connection with suspected violence against a student last week. 

Zakeya Goldsberry was arrested Jan. 13 after an alleged physical altercation during halftime at the basketball game that day.  WFXG-TV reported that the school district said the altercation happened between a student and Goldsberry. Goldsberry has been charged with violence and simple battery by the school district police, the Columbia County School District said.

This week, the school district acknowledged that it knew about the arrest at the time Goldsberry was hired. In a statement, the Columbia County School District said the incident related to Goldsberry's previous arrest was not related to school, and the charges were dropped.

"Prior to employment with the Columbia County School District, Ms. Goldsberry had previously been involved in a separate, non-school related incident in 2020 in Gwinnett County, resulting in charges of criminal trespass and battery, following a domestic incident between her and her husband," the statement said. "The charges were ultimately dropped. Her entire employment record and all listed reports were taken into consideration upon her recent hiring in 2022, with a strong recommendation for employment, from the school’s previous principal."

In a page from Goldsberry's background check, she acknowledged that she has been previously arrested.

The school district told WFXG-TV that it takes great precautions when hiring employees, running background checks with federal, state and local law enforcement databases, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

After her arrest on Jan. 13, Goldsberry was taken to the Columbia County Detention Center, where she was later released on bond. 

WFXG-TV reported that according to the high school's website, Goldsberry is a teacher in addition to her duties as a basketball coach. A spokesperson said the case has been submitted to the district's HR department for an investigation. 

In a letter sent to parents and staff after Goldsberry's arrest, the school said in part, "Safety of students and staff is top priority and the Columbia County School District does not tolerate inappropriate physical contact with students in any capacity." 

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