The following is a prepared statement made by former Leon High School Principal David Jones to the Leon ISD school board on Monday:
"I came to Leon ISD in 1992 as a math teacher and a coach. My daughter Lindsey was in the 4th grade and Lauren was in the 1st grade. My wife Robin took a job as an educational diagnostician with the Leon County Special Education Cooperative. She worked there for 16 ½ years. We raised our family here. We were proud of our school and community. During my years at Leon I was a math teacher, coach, junior high principal, and high school principal. If I was writing the last chapter in the book of my 28 year career in education, I would have never guessed it to end like this. I loved my job as an educator and I always felt as though I was called to be in this profession. It was never a job to me and I never did it for the money or position. I never had a mark against my name, only outstanding evaluations and an impeccable record. I had never planned on leaving Leon ISD. My plans were to finish my career here and retire to Venetia.
In February 2008 my life and my family’s life was turned upside down. I was sent home with pay, I had never been sent home from anything in my life. In the past 10 ½ months, I have been arrested, fingerprinted, my picture was plastered all over TV, the blogs drug my name and my family through the mud, a CPS report was filed, Lindsey and Jason resigned from Leon and moved away, my position of high school principal was taken away from me, Robin & I moved away, and then charges against me were dismissed.
It has been said that I would not tell my side of the story to the school board. Someone has misled you. On the contrary, I never received a directive from the superintendent or the school board for my side of the story. The eye witness didn’t either. You only heard the other side. My school law lawyer, Jay Brim, told me I was working for Leon ISD and if they wanted to hear the story, I would be obligated to tell it, but you never asked. I gave a written statement, and so did the eye witness, concerning the incident to the superintendent. I am curious if all 7 members of the board saw the actual statements or were you merely told about them or did you even know they existed. It has also been said that I refused to meet with the student’s dad about the incident. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I never knew they (the student & dad) were at school. I was never given a chance to meet with them. They were walked from the high school office, to the counselor’s office, and then to the superintendent’s office while I was in the cafeteria writing admits for students. I was left out of the loop.
As the Leon HS principal, I was charged with the safety and welfare of the students and staff of Leon HS. I could not allow students to come and go as they please. This could create a potentially dangerous atmosphere in these post Columbine times.
In late May of 2008, God did an unbelievable thing. I was approached by a former student of Leon High School. That our paths even crossed was the Lord’s intervention. This is what the student told me: “Coach Jones, how are you doing? This is wrong what is happening to you.” Then the student gave me some information that would blow this case wide open. Also in May the CPS case was dropped against me because they had no case. My attorney, Billy Carter, was asked several times to make a deal with Jim Witt (the county attorney). He let Mr. Witt know in no uncertain terms that we would never make a deal with respect to the Misdemeanor charge. Throughout this ordeal my school lawyer was contacted several times about the school wanting to make a deal that would protect the school from legal recourse from me. I finally agreed to a settlement when I knew I would never return to Leon ISD and after I received a job offer from the Dow Chemical Company. The settlement did not involve the criminal charges. If it did, I would have never agreed.
Concerning the future of Leon ISD, it concerns me very much that the first time I needed the board and administration to stand behind me, you were not there. It isn’t as though you didn’t know me. I had been a loyal employee for many years. If I had done something wrong I would have admitted it and taken the consequences and I believe you know that. I would have never put my family through this. I pray that no other Leon ISD employee in the future will ever be faced with this situation. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anybody.
It would be impossible to name all the people that have supported me, but this community and many employees of this school district have stood up as men and women of integrity. I have received a multitude of letters, phone calls, and prayers from hundreds of people of high character in this area as is evident of the large crowd here tonight in support of me. Keith Watson and Darren Thomas tried to do what was right and I will never forget that.
This has been the most awful thing I have ever experienced in my life. My name and my family have been attacked and my daughter and son-in-law left the education profession as well as Leon County. My 91 year old dad and my 83 year old mother have suffered tremendously. My brothers and their families have suffered through this ordeal, and my wife has had her life turned upside down. I have incurred significant legal fees. I served the students and staff of this district for many years and loved my job. I always tried to do what was best for the students as a whole. When I needed the administration and school board, you turned your backs. You tried to take action against me in a special called board meeting, but you couldn’t. Both items in that meeting pertaining to me were tabled. You tried to take away some of my pay, but you couldn’t do that either. All of this was done without ever hearing from me or the eye witness. That is travesty of justice by anyone’s standard. Thank you for your time and I appreciate all of my supporters that are here tonight.