Yesterday, the South Carolina State Board Of Education issued an order of summary suspension against Ariel Shnise Robinson, who was charged with homicide by child abuse in the January 14 death of her adopted daughter Victoria “Tori” Rose Smith.
Ariel’s husband Jerry Austin Robinson, 34, was also charged with homicide by child abuse this week.
Ariel Robinson was a middle school teacher in South Carolina for three years, according to the state board. Though she hasn’t been a teacher since 2019, the state board took emergency action to revoke her license on Thursday.
The state board considered evidence in the case, and decided to suspend Ariel Robinson’s teaching license until a due process hearing is held (likely until her trial date).
“The SCDE has reason to believe that, due to the serious nature of this allegation 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,” the state board ruled (see the full order below).
Though Ariel Robinson and her husband were both denied bond earlier this week, the state board took swift action in case her bond is revoked and she tries to seek work at a South Carolina public school while out on bond.
In other words, it was a precautionary measure.
The state board did not mention whether or not Ariel Robinson had any other disciplinary issues on her educator record.
While unsubstantiated rumors have spread on social media this week, officials aren’t releasing a lot of details in the investigation because the case involves the death of a child, sources told FITSNews. People are posting about the case with the hashtag #justiceforvictoria and #justiceforvictoriarose.
The case was investigated by SLED, per South Carolina law when it comes to the unexpected death of a child.
Simpsonville Police were called to the Robinson’s home around 2:25 p.m. after a child was found unresponsive, according to multiple media reports.
The child — Victoria “Tori” Rose Smith — was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Ariel and Jerry Robinson are accused of “inflicting a series of blunt force injuries” which caused Tori Robinson’s death on Jan. 14, according to arrest warrants in the case (see below).
The couple was responsible for the care and welfare of the child at the time of the incident, arrest warrants said. Law enforcement said they had enough probable cause based on the investigation.
Ariel and Jerry Austin Robinson were taken to the Greenville County Detention Center where they remained behind bars on Friday. If convicted, they each face 20 years to life in prison.
Victoria Rose Smith was a former foster child. South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) officials told FITSNews they are aware of the incident and are investigating the case along with law enforcement.
Who is Ariel Robinson?
Ariel Robinson is best known for winning season 20 of “Worst Cooks in America” on the Food Network in August. According to her website, Ariel was a middle school teacher trying to make it as a stand-up comic, radio host and TV personality.
On the morning of her daughter’s death, she posted the following tweet.
She deleted her Facebook page suddenly this week (after FITSNews obtained screenshots. Her other social media pages were still active as of Friday.
On her Facebook page, she shared several pictures of her adopted daughter named Tori (short for Victoria).
According to a Greenville News story, Ariel and Jerry Robinson adopted three children — two boys and a girl — in March 2020. The Robinsons already had two boys when they adopted the three siblings.
She announced the news of their adoption approval on Facebook in December 2019.
She posted dozens of pictures of Victoria up until the week of her death. Here is a photo of Victoria and Ariel on the Sunday before the tragedy.
Since her daughter’s death, Ariel did not post on her Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts.
She did, however, post a video to her Youtube page, which could have been pre-recorded.
We will hope to bring more details in this case next week. Stay tuned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your tips to [email protected].
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