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Special education teacher accused of dragging, choking, punching students

A former Oklahoma teacher is facing two misdemeanor charges after witnesses say she physically injured her special education students.

>> Watch the news report here

KFOR reported last week that Holly Noelle Morris, 38, is accused of "choking, punching, pinching and squeezing two of her students on several occasions" while she was working as a special education teacher for Piedmont Public Schools. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to an arrest affidavit, one parent said her son came home with bruises on his face and neck. A video also showed Morris dragging one student, the affidavit said.

Morris, who was arrested and charged with two counts of causing a child to be deprived, resigned in February, KFOR reported.

Read more here.

Black women look to flex power in Georgia governor's race

ATLANTA (AP) - This week's primary election in Georgia presents black women voters with a rare opportunity: To give a Democrat who looks like them a chance at occupying the governor's mansion in a Republican-controlled state.

A Democratic primary win Tuesday for Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans - both lawyers and former state lawmakers - means Georgia could elect its first woman governor later this year.

If Abrams wins the primary and the general election, America would get its first black woman governor. Given that black women are Georgia's third largest voting bloc, many such voters are relishing the possibility of making history happen twice over.

"Everybody's saying no black woman could ever become governor," said Abrams supporter Mo Ivory, 48, a lawyer who, like Abrams, is a graduate of all-female, historically black Spelman College in Atlanta.

"We thought no black man could ever become president of the United States, but he did," Ivory said, referring to Barack Obama. "If we think so small, like it could never happen, we'll never have these historic moments in time."

The U.S. currently has six women governors - two Democrats and four Republicans - serving in Alabama, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Rhode Island. With 2018 shaping up to be the biggest boon for women in American politics since a wave of female candidates were elected to Congress in 1992, the rising influence of black women at the polls is hard to ignore.

According to Higher Heights, a national organization focused on increasing black women's political participation, more than 70 percent of black women voters went to the polls when Obama was re-elected in 2012, outpacing turnout by white women (65.6 percent), white men (62.6 percent), and black men (61.4 percent).

In the 2016 presidential election, more than 90 percent of black women voters cast their ballots for Democrat Hillary Clinton; 53 percent of white women voters chose Republican Donald Trump.

Political observers cite the influence of black women in Alabama's 2017 U.S. Senate special election, when blacks cast ballots in greater numbers than their share of the population to lift Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore. They point out the role black women played recently in electing black women mayors, most notably Keisha Lance Bottoms in Atlanta, whose white opponent, Mary Norwood, also enjoyed broad support in the black community.

Bottoms hasn't officially endorsed a candidate in the gubernatorial race but counted Evans among her supporters. She said she feels compelled to help empower other women, especially black women.

"As black women go, so go our communities," Bottoms said in an interview at Atlanta City Hall shortly after her January inauguration. "We may not have the titles or recognition, but we lead. We stand in the gap a lot of times when the rest of our community is falling short."

This makes black women a good return on investment for Democrats, said Higher Heights co-founder Glynda Carr.

"She doesn't go to the polls alone," Carr explained. "She brings her house, her church, her block, and her sorority. When you actually invest in us, we overperform."

Abrams, 44, is counting on that sense of sisterhood. Among those stumping for her this month were actress Tracee Ellis Ross and California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, a potential 2020 presidential contender who also campaigned for Bottoms.

The "really strong margin" Abrams needs to secure the Democratic nomination makes black women's votes matter even more, said Emory University political scientist Andra Gillespie.

"While some black women will no doubt support Evans, others will no doubt be drawn to the historic nature of Abrams' candidacy," Gillespie said.

Evans, 40, who's white, is well aware of this. She's curried endorsements from several black elected officials and made a campaign theme out of Georgia's HOPE Scholarship, a popular college-aid program.

"That was number one for me," said Janean Lewis, 39, a black Atlanta educator who's backing Evans - a decision she says wasn't easy.

The struggle between the issues and race loyalty isn't lost on Abrams, the first woman party leader in the state General Assembly and the first African-American to lead its House of Representatives.

"It is sometimes our own communities that question ... how we see black women as part of the larger community," Abrams said in an interview at her campaign headquarters. "We have to imagine more for our politics and more for our people."

Ivory said she's heard "a surprising number of black women" say they're supporting 'the white Stacey,'" and she wonders how much this could hurt Abrams.

"We all lined up, no matter how we felt about Keisha," Ivory said, referring to Bottoms. "It doesn't seem like the same thing is applying here."

Last November, Lewis voted for Bottoms as mayor because she considered Bottoms' race and gender "icing on the cake." While she's now backing Evans, she can't bring herself to oppose Abrams publicly.

"At the end of the day, she is my sister," Lewis said. "I just don't know if she needs to be my governor. It's a hard pill to swallow."


Errin Haines Whack is The Associated Press' national writer for race and ethnicity. Follow her work on Twitter at .

AP Top Georgia Headlines at 12:11 a.m. EDT

Black women look to flex power in Georgia governor's race

Party lines divide Georgia candidates on gun control

The Latest: Democratic hopefuls spar on Medicaid, education

Columbus shop named Georgia's most bike-friendly business

Police: 2 arrests in fatal shooting after Georgia graduation

Winning numbers drawn in 'Cash 3 Night' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Sunday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Cash 3 Night" game were:


(six, three, four)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Cash 4 Night' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Sunday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Cash 4 Night" game were:


(two, four, nine, zero)

Winning numbers drawn in 'Fantasy 5' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Sunday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "Fantasy 5" game were:


(twenty-three, twenty-nine, thirty-one, thirty-six, forty)

Former East Point 'American Idol' contestant weighs in on finale

East Point is home to Victoria McQueen. She made it all the way to 'Hollywood week' on American Idol but that’s where her journey on the show ended and a new chapter began. 

"Everybody has been so supportive and really encouraging of my dreams and gotten a lot of opportunities about going to sing places," she told Channel 2's Lauren Pozen.

The 15-year-old said singing is her passion and that's what drew her to the competition. 

Watch the finale of 'American Idol' on Channel 2 beginning at 9 p.m. Monday night.

Despite not being onstage on Monday night for the grand finale, she still has a positive outlook 

"I have to keep in mind that it just wasn't my time. Everybody has their certain time," she said.

She has an idea of who she thinks should be the next 'American Idol.' 

"I would like to say to Caleb that I love you and you're a cool dude and I am excited for you and your new song is really good. That song is going to be a hit," she said.

McQueen told Channel 2 Action News she's still keeping her eye on the prize and won’t be fading from the limelight anytime soon. 

McQueen said she would love the opportunity to be on Idol next season too. She hasn’t ruled anything out.


Republican, Democratic candidates for Georgia governor face off on Channel 2 South Carolina authorities searching for 3 escaped inmates PHOTOS: $4.995 million Lake Burton estate


Winning numbers drawn in 'All or Nothing Night' game

ATLANTA (AP) _ The winning numbers in Sunday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's "All or Nothing Night" game were:


(four, seven, ten, thirteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-three, twenty-four)

Wright-Phillips scores twice, Red Bulls beat Atlanta United

ATLANTA (AP) - Bradley-Wright Phillips scored two second-half goals in the New York Red Bulls' 3-1 victory over Atlanta United on Sunday night.

New York (7-3-0) has won four in a row, outscoring its opponents 12-4 during that span.

Wright-Phillips headed home Michael Murillo's cross to the center of the box to give the Red Bulls a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute. About four minutes later, Wright-Phillips capped the scoring with a header, off an entry from Alejandro Romero Gamarra, that banged in off the crossbar.

Atlanta's Ezequiel Barco put away a deflected through pass from Miguel Almiron to open the scoring in the 26th minute.

Daniel Royer converted from the spot in the 42nd to make it 1-1 after Wright-Phillips drew a foul in the area conceded by Miles Robinson.

Atlanta (8-3-1) lost for just the second time since opening day.

Wright-Phillips has eight goals this season, tied with Almiron and Columbus' Gyasi Zardes for the most in MLS.

Atlanta's Greg Garza was shown a straight red card in the 71st minute for a serious foul.

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