Leake County, MS -
UPDATE - 2/10/14, 4:26pm: According to Police Chief Moak, the headmaster at Tri County Academy was arrested this morning around 10am after being served with a warrant. He is being charged with misdemeanor simple assault. The headmaster is currently out of jail on a $475 bond. He will appear in municipal court at 1pm on February 24. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of $500 and/or 6 months in prison. Is it a case of discipline gone too far or a big misunderstanding? Either way, this story out of Flora is getting plenty of attention. That's where police tell us the headmaster ofTri County Academy, Mark Johnson,is under investigation after a woman came forwardclaiming her 12-year-old child was paddled by Johnson. Flora Police Chief Dwayne Moak explains. "I was advised by the lady who filed the complaint there had been an altercation in one of the rest rooms by several young men, three i believe were involved.The headmaster addressed that altercation in his office and this is what resulted in the discipline for the children,” says Moak.
Chief Moak says the child's mother filed her complaint on February 4th. She told investigators she thought the paddling was too harsh.
At this point, it's important to note Johnson does not face any charges but Chief Moak says that could change, "If they are sufficient in severity it could be a felony. if they're not sufficient injuries it could be a misdemeanor."
We did a little digging and this is what we found as far as the schools code of conduct in the TCA handbook: "Tri County Academy reserves the right to take any disciplinary action deemed appropriate to correct disciplinary problems. Some of these may result in suspension or expulsion from school. Corporal punishment is an integral part of a good disciplinary program. it is the policy of t-c-a that teachers and the administration have the right to administer corporal punishment after following correct school procedures."
Moak says no complaints have been filed against the headmaster before this incident. We called Tri County Academy to get Johnson's side of the story, but we were told he is currently of town and unavailable for comment right now.