POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A teacher at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School has been arrested for allegedly having a physical altercation with a student while in the classroom.
According to two criminal complaints filed in Mason County Magistrate Court, James E. Jones, II, 52, Point Pleasant, has been charged with felony child abuse causing risk of injury and misdemeanor battery. Jones was arrested on Monday by personnel with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and has been released after posting a $32,000 surety bond. Jones appeared before Magistrate Cheryl Miller Ross who set his bond.
The first complaint which deals with the felony charge alleges on Feb. 13, Jones was wrestling with a juvenile until they both started choking each other. Mason County Sheriff Greg Powers confirmed this incident is alleged to have happened in a classroom at PPJ/SHS.
The complaint does not state what preceded this “wrestling” or what caused this situation to even begin. According to the complaint, this wrestling/choking got “out of control” and Jones, as the adult, allegedly continued in the activity until the juvenile’s face turned red and his airway was cut off. In addition, students in the classroom are cited as telling Jones to stop, again according to the complaint.
Cpl. F.O. Terry with the sheriff’s department is the lead investigator on the case and noted in the complaint, “While the juvenile was not seriously injured in the altercation, it is apparent the risk of serious injury or perhaps death could have resulted from his actions.”
The above was cited as reason for the felony child abuse causing risk of injury charge. The misdemeanor battery charge is contained in a separate criminal complaint which alleges while engaged in the wrestling match with the juvenile, Jones struck the student in the nose but denied doing this on purpose.
According to the minutes of a Mason County Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Oct. 9, 2012, Jones was employed as a Mathematics Interventionist at PPJ/SHS. His employment was approved at this meeting and was effective on Oct. 11, 2012.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Mason County Schools Superintendent Suzanne Dickens released no further information on the incident or how the BOE plans to handle it or the recent arrest of substitute teacher James Hadinger. Dickens said the matters would not be addressed during Tuesday evening’s regularly scheduled meeting.
Dickens reiterated the previously released statement which is as follows:
“Confidentiality requirements prevent me from commenting upon or discussing any allegations of employee misconduct. In the event disciplinary action is taken against an employee by the Board, further information will be disclosed. However, I can say that anytime the district is confronted with allegations relating to the safety and welfare of students, the allegations are taken seriously, thoroughly investigated and that measures are taken to ensure that students are safe and not exposed to any continuing risk of harm.”