MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fayette-Ware High School’s girls basketball coach was suspended Wednesday after deputies said they found drugs in her vehicle parked at the school.
Jireh Washington, listed on the school district website as a lifetime wellness teacher and head girls basketball coach, was issued a misdemeanor citation for simple possession of a small amount of a controlled substance on school property and violation of a drug-free zone.
Two students were also cited for simple possession of Schedule VI on school property.
Deputies say on October 25, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, West Tennessee Drug Task Force, and Tipton County Sheriff’s Office searched Fayette-Ware High School.
During the search, deputies said a Tipton County K9 sniffed out illegal narcotics in a vehicle belonging to the Wildcats coach.
Reports state Washington was escorted to the parking lot, and during a search of her car, deputies found a small bag of Marijuana inside the center console and a tan and black pistol in the driver’s side door compartment.
Deputies said they found a backpack with two mason jars with Marijuana residue inside, a box of clear plastic baggies, and two digital scales in her trunk.
In a statement posted on Fayette County Public Schools Facebook page, Superintendent Dr. Versie Hamlett said Washington had been suspended indefinitely without pay pending the investigation and final disposition of the charges brought against her by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.
Dr. Hamlett said the students would also be disciplined.
“We remain committed to establishing and maintaining a drug-free system,” said Hamlett. “FCPS will continue to provide and support random drug and weapon searches as part of the preventative measures in place to keep our students and staff safe.’
The search happened during Red Ribbon Week and comes five months after two Fayetteville-Ware High students died from a drug overdose in the school’s parking lot
The Fayette County Sherriff’s Department said the girls took fentanyl and the horse tranquilizer Xylazine.
A third teen was hospitalized in critical condition and later charged as an adult with two counts of second-degree murder. She is accused of providing the deadly drugs.
“All the efforts weren’t brought about by the incident at the end of last year when the girls died, but that brought attention and created a push to do as much as we could to try and keep narcotics out of the school,” said Chief Deputy Ray Garcia.
Chief Deputy Garcia said the school district has been doing locker and vehicle searches on their own with K9s and this is the first time the sheriff’s department has taken part.
The sheriff’s department said it recently reinstated its School Resource Officer Program and provided instructor training to officers for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program.