POINT PLEASANT — At Tuesday’s meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, a hearing for Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School (PPJSHS) math teacher James E. Jones, II, was postponed.
Superintendent Suzanne Dickens said on Wednesday, the hearing was postponed at the request of the employee. As previously reported, Jones is being charged with felony child abuse and misdemeanor battery on a student following an incident which took place on Feb. 13 at PPJSHS. Jones claims his actions were in self-defense.
A preliminary hearing for Jones in Mason County Magistrate Court has been set, and will take place at 2:30 p.m., today, March 14. Preliminary hearings determine if there is, or is not, probable cause to send the case on to further proceedings in Mason County Circuit Court. If Jones waives the preliminary hearing, the case may then go on to a grand jury, who will decide if there is probable cause for an indictment.
Dickens noted that the hearing with the board has been set tentatively for April 9.
As previously reported, according to the criminal complaint from Mason County Magistrate Court, Jones was wrestling with the student when they both started choking each other, which the complaint says got out of control and the student’s airway was cut off and his faced turned red. The complaint continues, saying other students in the classroom told Jones to stop and does not say how the situation actually began.
Also in a previous edition, Jones explained his side of the story, saying the student involved in the altercation started to leave his classroom prior to the bell ringing and when Jones asked the student to return, the student didn’t and Jones pulled on the student’s hooded sweatshirt and caught the string.
Following this, Jones said the student began to choke him using his tie and in an effort to defend himself he grabbed the strings on the student’s sweatshirt and choked the student until he let go of his tie, which the student did. Jones said there was no wrestling match. Jones was suspended without pay following the altercation.
Regarding the misdemeanor charge, a separate criminal complaint alleges that while wrestling with the student, Jones struck the student in the nose, which Jones denies happened. Jones said in a separate incident last school year the same student jumped him in the hallway and in an effort to get free, he accidentally hit the student in the nose, but said the student was not injured. Jones said he reported the incident, but no disciplinary action was taken.