On Thursday, the Richmond County school system released copies of the letters of reprimand and advisement given to staff members of the school, where it has been alleged employees were having sex on campus during school hours.
Since October, the school system's internal affairs investigators, senior administrators and even agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have been unraveling the sordid details of what took place last school year, including why an inflatable mattress was in the public safety officer's room.
The discipline was as follows:
- Teacher Jennifer Driesen received a letter of advisement, a step below a formal reprimand given when allegations can't be proven. It was alleged that she was having a romantic relationship with a co-worker, and the two would leave together during the school day for long lunches and meet at a private residence. The two were also out sick the same four days.
- Teacher Christina N. Morgan also received a letter of advisement. Allegations couldn't be proven that she paraded around in her underwear in former Public Safety Officer Ronnie Collins' office or that she was having an improper relationship with a co-worker. There was, however, a heated argument over her between the officer and a teacher. She was also seen in a dark classroom with him and was seen sitting between his legs at a basketball game.
- Graduation coach John Barksdale received a letter of reprimand. Although he wasn't connected to any allegations of sex, the investigation did find that he smacked the principal on the rear and left campus at her direction to pick up lunch.
The former principal, Sharon McAlevy, and a former teacher Denise Ogden resigned before any action could be taken against them, although a separate investigation could be initiated next week by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which certifies the state's educators.
Mr. Collins was fired from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
The school system continues to withhold details, refusing to release its investigative file in response to a Georgia Open Records request submitted by The Augusta Chronicle months ago.
David Hudson, The Chronicle's attorney and legal counsel for the Georgia Press Association, said school officials are violating state law by withholding the records. Once a decision is disclosed, the school system has 10 days to make the records public, Mr. Hudson said.
Although the disciplinary letters are dated Nov. 24, the school system has blocked access to investigation records because one employee has challenged his punishment.
But that doesn't matter, Mr. Hudson said. "If they've had the results of the investigation, they have 10 days," he said.
Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.