Board of Edu. suspends teaching certificate for former Upstate teacher, reality show winner charged in child’s homicide
SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Simpsonville police said they arrested a couple connected to the violent death of a child on Tuesday. One of the suspects is a former reality TV show winner and former Upstate teacher.
34-year-old Jerry Robinson and 29-year-old Ariel Robinson are charged with homicide by child abuse and are being held at the Greenville County Detention Center without bond, according to police.
Police say they responded to an address along Sellwood Circle last Thursday afternoon after receiving a call about an unresponsive juvenile victim who was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital.
The Greenville County Coroner’s Office identified the child as three-year-old Victoria Rose Smith. The coroner determined her cause of death to be multiple blunt force injuries.
According to arrest warrants, the injuries were inflicted by the Robinsons. Police say they had probable cause to issue the arrest warrants based on their investigation.
Ariel Robinson was the winner of season 20 of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America.” Robinson spoke to FOX Carolina after her win and said she was a mother of five.
Ariel Robinson was also a former ELA teacher at Sanders Middle School, according to a spokesman for Laurens School District 55. She left the district at end of the 2018-19 school year.
On Jan. 21, the South Carolina Board of Education suspended Robinson’s educator certificate as a result of her charges. The suspension document said the following:
“The SCDE has reason to believe that, due to the serious nature of these allegations of misconduct, Ms. Robinson may pose a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of students, who may be under her instruction and that emergency action is required. After considering the evidence presented by the SCDE, the Chair of the State Board finds that Ms. Robinson’s educator certificate shall be summarily suspended until a due process hearing is held and/or this matter is otherwise resolved.”
The child’s death remains under investigation by police, SLED and the coroner’s office.
Neither police nor SLED would comment on the relationship between the Robinsons and Smith, but the South Carolina Department of Social Services confirmed to FOX Carolina the agency was aware of the case and is investigating. They noted standard procedures include “taking appropriate action with any children remaining in the home after evaluating safety and risk”.
The case is going to be prosecuted by the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, according to a release from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
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