Former Teacher of Year resigns amid GBI investigation

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

Philip Bradley Pirkle in 2005 school photo.
Philip Bradley Pirkle in 2005 school photo.

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 an 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.

A search and seizure warrant was executed at Mr. Pirkle’s Johns Road residence July 20 by GBI Special Agent Charles Kicklighter.

Specifically, authorities are looking into whether or not evidence exists pertaining to sexual exploitation of a child.

Several items were seized from Mr. Pirkle’s home, including an external hard drive, desktop and laptop computers, a media jump drive and a total of nine DVDs and CDs.

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

“The communications were of a sexual nature and it was discussed that they wanted to meet each other for sex,” according to court records and documents.

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.

Mr. Pirkle and the girl began chatting through their MySpace profiles on June 28 at 5:34 p.m., according to documents and court records. Their last chat was July 8 at 2:44 a.m.

The girl discovered Mr. Pirkle’s MySpace profile through a friend and complimented Mr. Pirkle after seeing him jogging earlier that day, court records and documents show. He responded by saying he believes that he’s doing the world a favor by “running half naked,” providing “eye candy for the ladies.”

The conversation evolved the next few days, covering topics including the difference in their ages, the girl’s relationship with an older woman, Mr. Pirkle’s marital status, his relationships with other students and his interest in staying out of jail, according to the records and documents. Eventually, the pair agreed to meet, saying they would use the ruse of the girl taking “flute lessons” from Mr. Pirkle at his home if anyone asked.

There was no mention in the documents and court records as to whether the girl and Mr. Pirkle ever met.

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amazedbywhatiread
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amazedbywhatiread 07/29/09 - 07:21 pm
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It never ceases to amaze me

It never ceases to amaze me how people can throw away their whole lives for a little piece of action. Was this guy so hard up he couldn't find a "woman" his own age? Myspace is no place for anyone working in the education field.

LMS2005
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LMS2005 07/29/09 - 07:43 pm
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sounds to me like the girl

sounds to me like the girl started this. what will happen to her.

jonbrunk
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jonbrunk 07/29/09 - 08:04 pm
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My wife and I know Mrs.

My wife and I know Mrs. Pirkle and her family as being some of the finest people in Augusta. She and her husband can be assured of our prayers for them at this immensely difficult time.

amazedbywhatiread
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amazedbywhatiread 07/29/09 - 08:08 pm
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OMG! You have got to be

OMG! You have got to be kidding a FOURTEEN YEAR old compared to the mind of 20ish something year old MAN! Regardless of who "started this" the MAN should have finished it by (1) not allowing her access to his myspace (you can block anyone under 18) (2) if she faked her age then duh he KNEW it was a 14 year old student so plan B should have been delete her or BLOCK her from contacting him (3) who forced a 20ish year old college educated MAN to write sexual emails to a 14 year old. Obviously you forgot what it was like to be 14 like so many others who try to blame a child for the perverted actions of a grown men and women. I guess a 6 month old who is sexually abused "starts" the abuse to. Maybe they hold their bottle to provocatively. If you think babies aren't abused then you never watched the sexual predator show on Oprah one day it will turn anyones stomach.

amazedbywhatiread
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amazedbywhatiread 07/29/09 - 08:11 pm
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I can definitately feel sorry

I can definitately feel sorry for this young man's family. The choices we make not only effect us but the people who love us most. What a waste?

museofsatie
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museofsatie 07/29/09 - 08:24 pm
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I know Mr. Pirkle and his

I know Mr. Pirkle and his wife. My thoughts are with them, and I truly hope this all turns out to be false. Man.

142
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Dan White 07/29/09 - 08:41 pm
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Is their a school board

Is their a school board policy forbidding teachers to have students on their "friends" list?

jaschild
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jaschild 07/29/09 - 08:59 pm
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greenjacket, don't be so

greenjacket, don't be so naive. the case here is the dialogue that was exchanged. in fact, to exempt themselves from any suspect/suspicious behavior, teachers should keep their student relationships in the school and school related.

crazyed
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crazyed 07/29/09 - 09:22 pm
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Flute lessons, eh? Well, I

Flute lessons, eh? Well, I guess we know what they had planned...

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 07/29/09 - 10:50 pm
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Brad was a great teacher
Unpublished

Brad was a great teacher (teacher of the year last year) and a heck of a nice guy. He lost his head on this one though. Shocking, shocking, shocking.

bone
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bone 07/29/09 - 11:55 pm
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terrible story. so sorry for

terrible story. so sorry for brad and his family to have to go thru this mess. hopefully he'll pick up the pieces and get his life on track again.

Cestlavie
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Cestlavie 07/30/09 - 12:06 am
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I tell my high school

I tell my high school students all the time that my friends are my age, not theirs. The only friends that I have on my Facebook page are former students who have graduated and they have limited access to my personal information. My contact with them is only to keep up with their progress in their college careers. The internet is a public place and everyone should understand this by now. I know that some students will try to trap you; in fact, I've had male students who tried to cross the line. But they are children in my sight, so I get them straight immediately and refuse to play their game. This lapse in judgment is unacceptable and unfortunate because he is an adult dealing with a child; and a middle school child at that. I really don't understand the reasoning behind his actions other than ones of a perverse nature. I hope and pray that he receives counseling after any repercussions if this situation is true.

mgr
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mgr 07/30/09 - 12:07 am
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Crazyed, that was good!!

Crazyed, that was good!!

fred1217
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fred1217 07/30/09 - 05:45 am
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My advice would be for him to

My advice would be for him to move to South Carolina where the people are more understanding of these types of short comings and run for Governor.

nosuprise
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nosuprise 07/30/09 - 11:11 am
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Way to go Brad!!! I'm sure

Way to go Brad!!! I'm sure this is what every school system dreams about for their Teacher of The Year recipient! I don't blame the 14 year old AS MUCH as I BLAME him! He is a grown man in a profession that should be upheld w/ respect and professionalism, not sexual explotation of a child & MYSPACE! I guess by "doing the world a favor by running half naked and providing the ladies w/ eye candy" really didn't pay off after all! Maybe next time he can focus a little more of his "intrest on staying out of jail!"...*NOTE: I GUESS NOW WHEN A CHILD SAYS THEY WANT TO TAKE FLUTE LESSONS, THATS A SIGN IT'S TIME FOR THE BIRDS & THE BEES TALK!*

museofsatie
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museofsatie 07/30/09 - 01:22 pm
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In Brad's defense, that whole

In Brad's defense, that whole "eye candy" line was likely a joke and/or sarcasm. However, the rest of what he said to the girl was likely completely serious, which is very sad.

thoga
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thoga 07/31/09 - 08:56 am
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In the McDuffie Mirror it was

In the McDuffie Mirror it was made mention that Pirckle and the girl had conversations about various things including her having a relationship with an older woman. No one in Thomson seems to have picked up or care about. This girl, I think, knew what she was doing. He, will he was just stupid--plain and simple. The eye candy statement--trust me--not even close--nothing to look at.

Aliene
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Aliene 08/06/09 - 10:03 pm
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Betty Hammer Death

Betty Hammer Death

Bizkit
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Bizkit 09/18/14 - 01:39 am
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Please assistant coaches and

Please assistant coaches and teachers, and college professors have been having affairs with students for centuries. What has changed is the attitude it was a social mishap to now a criminal offense. Gosh most of my college professors were having affairs with students both undergrad and in grad school. Several coaches and teachers had affairs with students when I was in high school. None of them were treated as criminals-in fact one teacher just died recently at 90 years of age-I wonder how many students he molested.

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