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Glenn Hills High bookkeeper won't face charges

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An investigation into $14,400 in missing student activity funds at Glenn Hills High School has determined that the school's former bookkeeper took the money, according to results released Wednesday.

The Glenn Hills inquiry spurred an audit of all Richmond County high schools, uncovering a pattern of sloppy bookkeeping.

Reluctant at first to release the worker's name, Richmond County schools Superintendent Dana Bedden, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, identified her as Bridgette Thompkins.

Bedden said Thompkins had no other disciplinary issues in her record, has since resigned and paid the money back -- $3,200 through pay garnishment over about two months and the rest with the help of family.

The investigation began in April after a central office worker found irregularities in Glenn Hills' student activities account information, according to the superintendent. A new online accounting system made the tracking possible, he said.

Bedden said school Investigator Lt. Richard Roundtree, the school board attorney and the Richmond County District Attorney's Office determined the best approach would be to handle the case outside the court system.

He said Thompkins admitted taking some of the money and was remorseful, telling officials she used part of it to pay for medical needs. He said Thompkins agreed to pay back the money and resign.

Bedden justified the deal because "more important to us was getting the children's money back." He said the school system would have to pay legal fees if it went to court and might have more difficulty collecting should the worker be convicted and receive jail time.

During the investigation, Thompkins was assigned to a job at the school system's central office.

Bedden said that as a result of the case, the school system decided to audit all high schools' student activities accounts, which are funded through such things as locker rentals, school fundraisers and candy sales at sporting events.

He said the majority of money taken at Glenn Hills involved locker rental fees. Students are charged $10 a year to have a locker. He said half of that money goes to locker maintenance and the other goes to student activities.

So far, about half of the system's 10 high schools have been audited, and Bedden said that although nothing criminal has been found, several cases of sloppy bookkeeping were uncovered.

"We still have some procedural guidelines that aren't being followed," he said, noting that some schools have waited several days to deposit money from events instead of doing so the same day as protocol requires.

Bedden said the investigation of all high schools is continuing, and next year officials will audit middle schools. Elementary schools will be audited after that.

Bedden plans to sit down with Glenn Hills Principal Wayne Frazier today to discuss the missing money. He said the principal is ultimately responsible for what occurs in a school, but he doesn't see the latest incident as a firing offense.

The back story
BACKGROUND: Richmond County School System authorities learned April 1 that money was missing from a Glenn Hills High School account. School spokesman Louis Svehla confirmed Friday that an investigation was being handled internally.

DEVELOPMENTS:

- On Wednesday, the worker was identified as Bridgette Thompkins, who has resigned and repaid the $14,400.

- An ongoing audit of Richmond County high schools has revealed sloppy bookkeeping but no criminal activity, superintendent Dana Bedden said Wednesday.

WHAT'S NEXT: Middle and elementary schools also will be audited.

Comments (71) Add comment
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AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 06:51 pm
0
0
You've got to be kidding!!!!

You've got to be kidding!!!! Complainants here have been arrested for politely asking their neighbors to turn down loud music and inappropriate drunken carousing and language (to put it nicely) outside their house (in a subdivision) after midnight until 4am, but someone STEALS from a SCHOOL and they don't even get fired or have charges filed against them??? What kind of world are we living in? One set of rules for some people and another set of rules for others? What am I missing here?

showboat
336
Points
showboat 06/16/10 - 07:12 pm
0
0
Here we go, Bedding is going
Unpublished

Here we go, Bedding is going sit down and discuss the latest incident with Frazier give him a slap on his hand, and say job well done I am on my way to Texas, bye. Frazier will be back at GHH giveing all of the teachers and students hell and at the bar talking about all of the board members.He always felt that he was above the law and can do anything and get away with it.How can anyone trust Roundtree, he got demoted by the RCSD and got a got job at the board doing nothing.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 06/16/10 - 07:16 pm
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For those who have commented

For those who have commented on this story and not read it, (1) the superintendent has involved the DA's Office so charges could be coming and (2) it was NOT the principal who stole the money.

AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 07:28 pm
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Trey, in a specific case that

Trey, in a specific case that I am referring to, and in all calls by this caller, the caller was NOT crying wolf, the calls were a fair request for help regarding the matters, and that worse was actually going on than the caller was actually making the complaint about, even though the called complaint was valid. And in several instances arrests when arrests were made properly these matters were noticed and addressed properly. In the situations I have discussed here before that you have insinuated your condescending, manipulative, innuendo and minimizing remarks you DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU are writing about. If you think you do, you are at the best mistaken at the worst, plain wrong! I am sick of your attitude. People like you are why things don't get better here. You sit on a scanner all day and don't do a thing to help and then make fun of people that are actually trying to DO something to make Augusta a safer place to live. I've learned that people like you who call other people mental cases need to look in the mirror!

showboat
336
Points
showboat 06/16/10 - 07:30 pm
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The principal is in charge of
Unpublished

The principal is in charge of the school , the DA's office is not involved the case has been close with pay back of the money.

AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 07:31 pm
0
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And insider information I DID

And insider information I DID read the article and it doesn't say: "(1) the superintendent has involved the DA's Office so charges could be coming>" It says: "Bedden said discussion between school Investigator Lt. Richard Roundtree, the school board attorney and the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, determined the best approach would be to handle the case outside the court system." If it's outside the court system, how would charges be involved?

AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 07:33 pm
0
0
Also, I don't see any

Also, I don't see any comments saying the principal stole the money. The person was referring to the principal's responsibility to have oversight over the bookkeeper. Or was someone's comment deleted?

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 06/16/10 - 07:35 pm
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0
Read again

Read again Insider

"Investigator Lt. Richard Roundtree, the school board attorney and the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, determined the best approach would be to handle the case outside the court system."

They already made their decision. What I want to know is under what authority was this decision made??? The person stole money from a publicly funded institute. Even if the money was from monies paid by parents for student lockers, were the parents asked if they wanted to prosecute? This swings the door wide open for the next person who is caught stealing to claim discriminatory treatment if they are prosecuted. The rules should be applied consistently. Making back door decisions such as this one will come back to bite the district.

AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 07:36 pm
0
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BTW a good number of people

BTW a good number of people that did the same thing you are doing Tres Enfantes Terrible, ended up in Federal Prison. So what's your excuse? You're either part of the solution or part of the problem.

get real people
0
Points
get real people 06/16/10 - 07:40 pm
0
0
I agree with you Autum, those

I agree with you Autum, those small frivolous crimes as trey put it, turn into really big problems very quick when nothing is done about it, I mean how else are the good citizens supposed to try and keep their nieghborhoods safe from all the thugs that are trying to take over, come to my neighborhood acting stupid and I will call on you too.

get real people
0
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get real people 06/16/10 - 07:43 pm
0
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And as far as that bookkeeper

And as far as that bookkeeper goes she should be punished just like anybody else would be if they had stolen something, and yes this principal should share some of the blame because it his resposibility to make sure the school is running properly.

AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 07:50 pm
0
0
Just to be clear, I want to

Just to be clear, I want to add that what I was referring to was there are people in prison now that were discounting the complaints that were being made by certain complainants, especially one I know very well. I suppose most people that discount others have some kind of personal or business agenda, whether the business is legitimate or illegitimate.

justus4
101
Points
justus4 06/16/10 - 08:30 pm
0
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Look at the comments.
Unpublished

Look at the comments. High-minded and questioning the decision to handle the situation at the lowest level. Great work! This was the appropiate decision and those who got problems with it, also got problem with the individuals WHO actually made the decision. Wow! Remember, being consistent demonstrates strong character.

lylagirl
1
Points
lylagirl 06/16/10 - 08:52 pm
0
0
We need a very strong

We need a very strong administration...Board members do your homework this time and have the children as the main concern when making a decision for the next top administrator ...PLEASE!!!!!!

showboat
336
Points
showboat 06/16/10 - 09:04 pm
0
0
Lylagirl, the board members
Unpublished

Lylagirl, the board members will not do anything about this administrator, but turn the other cheek, because they think that he has done a great job.

reader54
209
Points
reader54 06/16/10 - 09:18 pm
0
0
How cool!!! You steal public

How cool!!! You steal public money and, IF you get caught, just pay it back and all's good. I think that I'll "case" a bank tomorrow. Nice deterrent. Sheesh.

AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 11:41 pm
0
0
justus4, yes, I do have a

justus4, yes, I do have a problem with the person making the decision: the bookkeeper. He or she should be held accountable, like any other thief, if it has been proven he or she took money from that fund without permission. That is stealing. This is NOT a consistent application of the law. "Lowest level" you say? You got that EXACTLY right, but not the way you meant. As far as the principal, I had high hopes and expectations for him and he has done a lot of good in the past. I'm glad I don't have to make a decision on his future after what I've read lately in the news. A lot of people looked up to him. I hate to see what seems to be a good man fall; I hope he can recover from this. For that matter, I hate to see any man fall from grace by his own fault or otherwise. It hurts everyone as in a ripple effect, including the man himself.

AutumnLeaves
7667
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/16/10 - 11:50 pm
0
0
Reminds me of the case of the

Reminds me of the case of the woman working for the landfill who was stealing. That stunk, too.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 06/16/10 - 11:54 pm
0
0
It seems that the truth about

It seems that the truth about the 'system' is finally coming to light. A lot of crookedness here in Augusta. As for the young lady who steals and gets away with it, this is no different from Fraziers school where the kids come packed with drugs to smoke on campus as they please while the school security officer watches on.The undocumented weapons that were confiscated, see all these things ADD to the problems in our homes and at school. But when you have the principal and p.o.'s condoning such behavior then what would they expect,

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 06/17/10 - 12:07 am
0
0
If I would like to get some

If I would like to get some quick cash by stealing from a bank, basically I would need to give the teller an I.O.U. before I ride out with the cash, then from a legal standpoint I'm good to go. Sounds similar to the accountants case. I bet my uncle bey bey could steal a lighter out of the gas station and get locked up and charged with a felony.

jbenny2010
263
Points
jbenny2010 06/17/10 - 12:35 am
0
0
Wow. . . he's the one who

Wow. . . he's the one who announced that locker fees would be cash or money order only. . . no personal checks (against county policy). How did he not know??? Principals have to approve all monies spent by the school; how is he not responsible? As of the last day of school, my club account was still missing several hundred dollars of fund raising money. This is wrong on so many levels my head is spinning.

methree
0
Points
methree 06/17/10 - 02:45 am
0
0
let me see if i have this

let me see if i have this right-she steals almost $15,000. pays it back (after she's caught) and doesn't go to jail? not a bad deal. real good example for all the kids.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 06/17/10 - 05:17 am
0
0
Some laws apply to some

Some laws apply to some people sometime and sometime they don't. Who's driving this boat?

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 06/17/10 - 06:44 am
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0
"Who's navigating this boat",

"Who's navigating this boat", j.c.. This instantly reminded me of an R.C.S.D. Investigator who was stealing on a grand scale from a now closed big retail establishment in S.Augusta. After some debating between the then Sheriff of Richmond Co., the stores group President and the stores Loss Prevention Director it was decided that no charges be brought against the investigator. He was relieved of his duties as as investigator and suffered only the loss of his job. With a slap on his wrist he was allowed to move on without any punishment of his crimes. This theft was not just a one time occurence, as the investigation moved on to his county issued vehicle it was determined by the amount of unpaid merchandise in the trunk of said vehicle, and admission by the investigator that it had been going on for quite some time. There was no fairness to the many, many folks who had been taken off to County lockup for lesser shoplifting offences before and after this incident. As for Showboats comment about Inv.R.Roundtree's demotion from the Sheriff's office I find it was the Departments loss when they did demote him and Roundtree decided to move on to the B.O.E Police Department. More money, less hassle and a greater appreciation of his background. I watched, over the years, as Roundtree worked his way up the ranks at R.C.S.D. and felt he was one of the few who gave all for the community and the Sheriffs Department. He is an outstanding individual, and in all fairness his demotion as a homicide detective was something that should have been dealt with differently. Too many tax dollars for investigative training over the years went right out the window. Roundtree was an exceptional investigator in this county and always excercised professionalism and grace when dealing with murdered victims families. Thanks for the opening dialogue Showboat I've been wanting to state these things for a long while concerning Roundtree. You gave me an opening and I aprreciate it. And while the issue is about wrong doing and how it's corrected , just consider this, it's always "The Powers" that be who determine how you finish the race and what the verdict will be, most times it's based on whether or not they like you.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 06/17/10 - 06:44 am
0
0
Doesnt $14000 cross some sort

Doesnt $14000 cross some sort of legal line? Felony taking?

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 06/17/10 - 07:02 am
0
0
Of course it is a felony

Of course it is a felony Indigo. Prosecution could come if the courts want to prosecute, but if the victims don't want to prosecute then again whats left is only to seek restitution, as in this case it's been paid back. No record to prevent her from handling some one elses money.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 06/17/10 - 07:03 am
0
0
I honestly don't see how
Unpublished

I honestly don't see how anyone in the system had the authority to choose NOT to prosecute. So, Working for the School system means you get a different level of justice, "like a wink and a nod"?
What if everyone else practiced this way? This is just WRONG!!!

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 06/17/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
Haven't you been watching the

Haven't you been watching the actions of this Washington administration, Ismith? Just as Clinton made oral sex "not sex" with his televised example, our current administration makes some laws "not laws" that need to be applied to everyone.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 06/17/10 - 07:50 am
0
0
so if butler has all of this

so if butler has all of this recreation monies why did they go in front of the commission and ask for money to buy championship b-ball rings?????

disssman
6
Points
disssman 06/17/10 - 08:07 am
0
0
Without a transparent open

Without a transparent open budget, do we even know if the locker fees were spent on locker maintenance?. I remember schools, in the old days, when lockers were free so students would have a place to store rheir books (school property). HE11 at crosscreek they don't even allow students to carry a backpack for their books. Just remember this when you go to the polls and vote for your incumbent representative like you always do. Given our record for re-electing the same old dead beats, this isn't surprising.

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