Patricia Mulholland appeared in Bluffton's court Tuesday on charges of assault and battery and disorderly conduct, after authorities say she assaulted one of her students. She could've faced 30 days in jail for each charge.
Instead, Judge Clifford Bush agreed with the state's recommendation to allow Mulholland to enter a pre-trial intervention program. She will have 12 months to complete it and includes things like counseling, drug and alcohol evaluations, as well as community service. Mulholland will have to pay a $350 fee to participate in the program.
If she successfully finishes the program, Mulholland will avoid criminal charges. During the hearing, the town's attorney told the judge that the victim in this case agreed to the pre-trial intervention for Mulholland.
Mulholland remains on administrative leave from her position at Bluffton Middle School.
The charges against Mulholland stem from an April incident in which she allegedly grabbed a 7th grade student by the collar, dragged him to the back of the class, forced him under a table and said, "This is what the Nazis did to the Jews."
Although the criminal side has been addressed, it's still unknown if Mulholland will keep her teaching certificate and her job. The State Board of Education will decide if she'll keep her certificate or if it will be revoked or suspended.
After the Beaufort County School District receives all of the proper court documents, they will review it and then make a recommendation to the Beaufort County School Board concerning her employment with the district. The School Board will make the ultimate decision.