Ga. middle school teacher busted growing pot

Marijuana growing operation found in home near school



ATHENS, Ga. -- An Athens-Clarke County middle school teacher was arrested Wednesday when authorities found an indoor marijuana farm at his home near the school where he taught.

Members of the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force went to the residence of Joseph Weston LePage to execute a search warrant. When no one was home, they forcibly entered, Athens-Clarke County police said.

The home is located around the corner from Clarke Middle School, where LePage is a sixth-grade social studies teacher.

In addition to marijuana growing inside the home, drug agents found equipment commonly used for indoor farming and some psilocybin, a hallucinogenic mushroom, police said.

LePage, 28, came home while the search was underway and was arrested, police said.

He was charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, felony possession of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I drug.

LePage was released from the Clarke County Jail Thursday afternoon after posting a total bond of $8,000, according to the jail Web site.

According to the teacher’s LinkedIn Web page, he has been employed by the Clarke County School District Since August 2012 and taught at Clarke Middle School since June 2013.

Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, the school district’s director of public relations and communications, said that federal privacy laws prevented her from discussing a personnel matter.

“However, I can state that our protocol when an employee is under investigation — particularly of a criminal nature — is to place that employee on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” she said.


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