Top teacher quits amid GBI inquiry

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THOMSON --- One of McDuffie County's top teachers has resigned amid an ongoing probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Pirkle  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Pirkle

School board officials are expected to accept Philip Bradley Pirkle's resignation at today's meeting. He left his teaching duties at both Thomson Middle School and Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School on Friday, according to McDuffie County School Superintendent Jim LeBrun.

Mr. Pirkle, who was Thomson Middle School's Teacher of the Year last year, is accused of improperly communicating with a 14-year-old girl through a social networking Internet site this summer, McDuffie County Superior Court records, an affidavit and a GBI application for a search warrant reveal.

Mr. Pirkle has not been criminally charged. Repeated attempts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.

"No one has been determined to be guilty of any charges at this time, but given my understanding of where they are in the case, the best thing that could have happened would be for him to no longer be employed with us," Mr. LeBrun said.

The investigation began July 15 -- two days after the girl's mother informed the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department of the messages.

The girl was interviewed by the GBI agent on July 16. She described her relationship with the teacher as a friendship. Mr. Pirkle, who has taught school for several years, had the girl in his band class when she was in sixth grade.

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freespeech
0
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freespeech 07/30/09 - 06:54 am
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Mr. LeBrun, isn't that guilty

Mr. LeBrun, isn't that guilty until proven innocent?

justus4
113
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justus4 07/30/09 - 07:30 am
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Exactly why a career in
Unpublished

Exactly why a career in education is high-risk for males because of this kinda situation. The man looks guilty, but the facts are not known and zealous investigators will ruin this guys professional career whether something happened or not. A good rule is to not communicate with students out side classroom.

3M3T1B
9
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3M3T1B 07/30/09 - 07:51 am
0
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Guilty until proven innocent.

Guilty until proven innocent. It is a sad day when just the inference of a crime can have life-ruining effects.

3M3T1B
9
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3M3T1B 07/30/09 - 07:55 am
0
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And Superintendent Jim

And Superintendent Jim LeBrun, you are a spineless douche for not backing your teacher(s). Perhaps you are more concerned with appearances than you are with justice.

cricketflea
3
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cricketflea 07/30/09 - 08:01 am
0
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There are alot more details

There are alot more details written in the McDuffie Mirror. http://mirror.augusta.com/stories/2009/07/29/new_542510.shtml Read THIS and then rethink what you are saying here!

4gr8kids
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4gr8kids 07/30/09 - 08:31 am
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I am a citizen of McDuffie

I am a citizen of McDuffie County. As a parent of children in the public school system, I think Mr. Pirkle resigning was the best decision for the school system, also.

checkitout
13
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checkitout 07/30/09 - 08:44 am
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No one on here really knows

No one on here really knows what was said or went on. My child (girl) plays in the band at TMS and she thinks the world of Mr Pirkle and she was really upset over this. From all the contact I have had with him I dont feel my child would be a in harmsway with him. He is a really good teacher. Some kids dont need to be on my space looking to cause trouble. From the story she came looking for him. Unless there is more to the story than what we read here dont hang him. HE IS A REALLY GOOD BAND TEACHER....

4gr8kids
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4gr8kids 07/30/09 - 08:47 am
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He is a good band teacher.

He is a good band teacher. My son is in band, and also had him for a teacher. Maybe the girl did go looking for him, to cause trouble. However he is the adult, and should have ended the conversation immediately!

cricketflea
3
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cricketflea 07/30/09 - 08:57 am
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I agree....He IS a good band

I agree....He IS a good band teacher. My son also had him! I am NOT trying to hang him, just looking at the facts. It LOOKS as if the 14 year old went LOOKING for him. Am I not correct when I say that Mr Pirkle is the ADULT in this situation and SHOULD have stopped the conversation BEFORE it got out of hand instead of started talking about being "eye candy" and "not wanting to go to jail" and "wanting to meet for sex" (all his words, not mine)! Did you read the story in the Mirror??? I sure did! Seems to me that the "facts" are right there.....

4gr8kids
0
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4gr8kids 07/30/09 - 08:59 am
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You are exactly right

You are exactly right CRICKET!

mother2girls
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mother2girls 07/30/09 - 10:18 am
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Mr Pirkle, is a very good

Mr Pirkle, is a very good band teacher. However, yes he should have stopped it before it got this far. But on the other hand the girls mother and father should have been spending more time with her and not letting her be online so much. We as mothers and father should be teaching our kids the right way to live. How to be good men and women. When we let them see and hear trash thats what comes out. What we feed on will come out sooner or later. Not letting them just do their own thing. I'm not saying anyone is trash just that we should judge better at what we let our kids see, do and hear. She is 14yrs old and she knew better just the same as him. I have a 14yrs old girl that enjoys band with him and Trent, I do not feel that she was at any in harmsway with him. Thank you Brad for being a very good band teacher for my child. God bless You..

DMac_357
1
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DMac_357 07/30/09 - 10:30 am
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It's hard to stand up for a

It's hard to stand up for a guy when he won't stand up for himself. If he wasn't guilty, I think he would fight to clear his name. By resigning, at least to me, he's admitting that he did something wrong. I don't think a career in education is high risk for males. If you aren't doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about. If some 15 year old girl contacts me over the internet, I'm definately not going to engage in a conversation about sex and not going to create some cover story as to why we're meeting. Adults have to behave like adults because kids will be kids. I always wonder about guys like this who go after children and not a woman his age or older. What was it about this teacher that made this girl comfortable contacting him on the internet for something other than saying hello? I give credit to the mother who found these conversations because she's paying attention. Without her monitoring her daughter's MySpace page, her daughter would've possibly been sexually molested by this grown man. AC - why leave out so many details?

Jillian
2
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Jillian 07/30/09 - 10:46 am
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I read the other article, and

I read the other article, and yes, this teacher needs to be locked up...he is clearly a predator. The girl and her parent's also bear some personal responsibility in the matter. Why was a 14 yr. old girl seeking out a man that age??? Why were the parent's allowing her free access to do such things?? If they were teaching her properly wouldn't she know such conversations were morally wrong and illegal?

KingJames
11
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KingJames 07/30/09 - 11:52 am
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I just read the other

I just read the other article. The teacher sounds guilty to me. However, he doesn't LOOK guilty as someone else previously stated. How exactly does guilty look? He actually looks more like your typical guy next door. This really goes to show you that everyone is capable of anything. You just never know by looking at outer appearances what some people will do.

whyme
2109
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whyme 07/30/09 - 01:14 pm
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You say he isn't standing up

You say he isn't standing up for himself. However, any comment made by anyone in a criminal situation can be misconstrued or distorted by the likes of this paper. Then any chance of having a proper defense or fair trial, guilty or not, is gone.

The Ode
2
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The Ode 07/30/09 - 01:33 pm
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"According to documents and

"According to documents and court records, their last chat was July 8 at 2:44 a.m" - A 14 year old is online at 2:44am. There really are alot of substandard parents in the CSRA.

checkitout
13
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checkitout 07/30/09 - 02:15 pm
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Being on line at 244am shows

Being on line at 244am shows that the mother wasnt seeing to her 14 year old and that if this girl talked to the teacher at this hour who else does she talk to. I look at what my kids on on the computer and they sure arent on it at 245 in the morning. I thought Mr. Pirkle just got married. Another thing how do you know it was him on the computer. anyone that knows or guesses your password could go on line and say they are him. I really think he should stand up for himself and tell his side of what happen. You know like the stings they do having a officer say they are 14 and really a adult. Come on who knows who is on the other side of the screen. Give him a break before you hang him here.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 07/30/09 - 05:57 pm
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People with certain kinds of

People with certain kinds of jobs (especially jobs they want to keep) need to totally stay out of chat rooms! Period!

maddhatter
0
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maddhatter 07/30/09 - 09:02 pm
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It is shameful what happened.

It is shameful what happened. There really is a lot of information in the print about this case. I am amazed how much information there is pertaining to the conversations. This person is in a position of trust with our children. No matter what happened, he broke the main rule of teaching which is not to have private conversations with students where such communication could be misinterpreted a inappropriate. If he was online with her at 2 AM, I am sure it was not for homework help. It is just plain wrong. He discussed not wanting to be in jail. Well, maybe now, he willl share a cell with that other band teacher from Butler who also had a thing for his students.

thoga
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thoga 07/31/09 - 12:32 pm
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the comment about the mother

the comment about the mother paying attention--in the McDuffie Mirror it states that she and the teacher discussed her relationship with an older woman--what does the mother think of that?

bnmuga24
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bnmuga24 08/01/09 - 05:45 pm
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I personally do not believe

I personally do not believe anyone should be judging Mr. Pirkle until he is proven innocent or guilty. I was in band for 2 years at thomson middle school, and 1 year at the junior high school, and I can honestly say that Mr. Pirkle is one of the best teachers I have ever had. Nothing innappropriate was ever said during class, and he never acted innappropriate around his students.

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