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Educators investigated for criminal misconduct land jobs at new schools

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — A far too common error allowed a Mid-South cheerleading coach being criminally investigated to land a new job in a new school district.

Jimmie Wilson (sometimes spelled Jimmy Wilson) was arrested at Melrose High SChool last November for theft, official misconduct, and tampering with evidence.

He pleaded guilty in March.

“I was upset, really,” said Erica Jones.

She remembers that day, because Wilson was her daughter’s majorette coach at the school.

“He didn’t really get anything off the ground,” she said.

Jones later found out that Wilson’s crimes were actually committed at his former job in Fayette County.

Wilson was a cheer coach at Fayette Ware High when he collected money from the team for uniforms and camp and then spent at least $2,500 dollars of it on himself.

WREG uncovered documents stating the school first noticed something wrong in 2017 and called in local and state agents to sift through financial records.

In May 2018, Wilson left FCS and got a job at Shelby County Schools. All the while, detectives continued to build their case.

So, how did he get the job at SCS?

Especially since the Tennessee Board of Education has rules in place to prevent exactly this.

It requires a district report within 30 days a licensed educator who is suspended, terminated or resigned in lieu of termination for misconduct.

It’s not only policy. It’s law.

The state board then flags the teacher’s license to warn other school districts while it also investigates.

Turns out, that didn’t happen in Wilson’s case.

In a series of email, state board officials told us Fayette County never informed them of Wilson’s crimes.

In fact, they say they never heard about it until SCS reported him in December.

Fayette County’s excuse: despite local and state agents investigating Wilson, they never suspended him. So technically, they didn’t have to tell the state.

FCS also says when Wilson left the district, his license had expired. So again, they didn’t say anything.

Not to mention, Wilson never said anything either. On his SCS job application, he stated he wasn’t being investigated.

“They should report it,” said one Melrose High parent. “It’s strange, because anything like that needs to be investigated.”

Melrose parents say they wished F-C-S reported Wilson’s misconduct to the state board.

At least to have stopped him from renewing his license and landing a job at Melrose High, where we uncovered in his short time there, he was accused of violating the fundraising policy.

We got a copy of an email from the school secretary. It alleges Wilson launched a fundraiser for uniforms and equipment without the school’s knowledge, and parents complained they paid money but never got a receipt.

WREG spoke to Wilson on the phone to try to get a comment, but he told us he needed to talk to his attorney. We never heard back.

What we did find out is that he’s not the only Mid-South teacher to land a new teaching job while being criminally investigated.

Christopher Walton was a S-C-S teacher last November when he was indicted for sex crimes involving a student.

SCS says the alleged crimes actually happened when Walton worked at the Memphis School of Excellence charter school in 2017.

Again, SCS wouldn’t have known about the unnerving investigation, because the state says they didn’t hear about it until SCS informed them in January.

Officials with the charter school wouldn’t answer our questions. They only sent a brief statement that read in part, “We are proud of our track record of reporting compliance, hereby ensuring the safety of our students.”

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