The third grader at the center of an alleged plot by classmates to tie up and stab their teacher said she didin't speak up because she feared she'd get in trouble
Instead of avoiding trouble, Tmanni Adams has been suspended for a month, which could force her to repeat third grade because she won't be able to finish the school year, her lawyer told "Good Morning America" today.
Tmanni's classmates at Center Elementary School in Waycross, Ga., allegedly hatched the plot to attack their teacher last month because Tmanni was reprimanded for standing on a chair in class.
"I got up to pull up my pants. I didn't get up and stand on the chair," said Tmanni, whose mother is currently on her way back to the states from Kuwait where she was serving in the armed forces. The girl insists she didn't stand on her chair.
Adams said she didn't know how the nine students got involved in the plot to attack their teacher, and that she wasn't part of the plot. Nevertheless, she was suspended for 30 days for not telling anyone about the threat to the teacher.
"I was scared. I might get in trouble," she said on "Good Morning America."
Her attorney, Linnie Darden, said Tmanni Adams may miss getting promoted to the fourth grade because the suspension effectively ended her school year.
Tmanni's grandmother, Cheryl Kitchen, has been her guardian while Tmanni's mother is abroad and said she believed the children just took a joke too far.
"Basically it was just a prank. To my understanding those kids were just going to throw pies at her," Kitchen said on "GMA" today. "We are praying and hoping this situation will get over and the truth will be told about the situation."
Police said the 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds actually hatched a plan to knock the teacher unconscious with a paperweight, bind her with toy handcuffs and duct tape, and then stab her with a steak knife. Investigators believe the nine boys and girls divvied up tasks to carry out the plan. One would cover up the window, while another would clean up the mess.
The case gained national attention after a student tipped off administrators and police seized a knife, a crystal paperweight, a pair of gloves and toy handcuffs.
Police charged three of the students with assault crimes and all nine were suspended from school. The teacher has returned to school, but colleagues said she is very sad.
Darden said parents are looking for answers, but the school system isn't giving any.
"It seems strange to me that 10 out of 10 children would be angry enough to harm the teacher," he said.