Coach accused of assaulting woman at kindergarten graduation

Nichole Cohen (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention Center)

SPARTANBURG CO., SC (WSPA) – A girls basketball coach is facing charges of assault after Spartanburg County deputies say she squeezed someone’s buttocks at a kindergarten graduation.

This is the second staff member arrested in a week at High Point Academy.

Last Friday the robotics teacher Jerry Blaxton was arrested on child pornography charges. That’s the same school whose founding superintendent resigned amid a money mismanagement scandal last year.

The timing couldn’t be worse for High Point Academy in Spartanburg.

New Superintendent Christy Junkins’ first official day is Saturday.

“I came in at a hard time last year,” Junkins says.

Junkins has been the interim superintendent ever since last year’s investigation found the school’s co-founder misappropriated funds.

Now, the in-school suspension instructor Nicole Cohen is the latest staff member to land in trouble.

A sheriff’s office report says Cohen squeezed a person’s rear end at the kindergarten graduation.

“I was speechless. And I don’t want our reputation as a school to be known as that because we’re so much more,” Junkins says.

Parent Amy Greene, who pulled her two kids out of High Point at the end of this school year, has already lost faith.

“That is disturbing that this is the second teacher that has been arrested, and it just justifies us taking our kids out,” Greene says.

Greene says she also has concerns about bullying and the school’s leadership.

“I don’t trust my kids there with any of them,” says Greene

High Point says they do background checks every year on every staff member.

Both staff members had been working there since the school opened three years ago. High Point said the criminal background check on them each year turned up no criminal history.

High Point is working towards preventing incidents like this in the future.

“I think we are probably going to implement more professional development,” says Junkins, “Typically we do it at the beginning of the year. But we see the need to do it each time we have our monthly faculty meetings.”

High Point Academy has placed Cohen on paid administrative leave until Spartanburg County completes its investigation.


SPARTANBURG Co., S.C. (WSPA) – School officials say a High Point Academy coach has been arrested.

Nichole Cohen, 33, of Spartanburg, has been charged with second-degree assault and battery.

A woman told deputies she was inappropriately touched while attending the kindergarten graduation at High Point Academy last month, according to an incident report.

The victim said a female she didn’t know squeezed her buttocks, the report states.

Cohen is listed on High Point Academy’s website as head coach of the girls’ basketball team and an ISS instructor. School officials confirm that Cohen teaches there.

Cohen was booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center on Thursday and released later that day.

Cohen is the second HPA teacher arrested in a week.

Jerry Dean Blaxton, 54, of Inman was recently charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Blaxton was a robotics teacher at the time of his arrest.

An HPA spokesman said Blaxton was fired after school officials learned of his arrest.

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