Manassas High principal arrested charged with theft and forgery

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- James Griffin, the popular principal at Manassas High School, is facing criminal charges.

The 42-year-old was arrested Tuesday on several counts of theft, forgery and official misconduct.

According to a statement from Shelby County Schools, "James Griffin is no longer an employee of the District. He resigned April 1, 2016 from his position as principal at Manassas High School."

According to an affidavit, Griffin wrote 14 checks on the school's account at Tri-State Bank using forged co-signatures from the school's vice principal and financial secretary.

The Tri-State account was supposed to be closed in 2015, after Shelby County Schools ordered all schools to switch their banking business to Regions Bank.

Memphis Police say  the school financial secretary told Griffin the Manassas' account at Tri-State was still open in January 2016 with over $14, 000 in it.

Investigators say Griffin took out $12,000 and had it deposited in the school's Regions Bank account, leaving about $2,000 in the old account.

Police also say Griffin deposited a donation from Grace Ministries into the Tri-State account in February 2016.

Records show on the same day, Griffin wrote a $1,000 check to himself from that account and forged the signature of the school's assistant principal.

On Monday, April 18, a school employee said Griffin told her she would be getting a stipend for work she had completed and that he would keep half the money.

She told Memphis Police she did not know what to do and did give Griffin half the money.

Reactions were mixed Wednesday.

"It's very shocking. We got a new principal," one student said.

"Finally," a former teacher at Manassas said, responding to the news. She was not surprised to hear Griffin got into trouble.

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