Starkville High School social studies teacher Jason Lernard Young, 29, was arrested last week by Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department and charged with his second DUI, assault on an officer, fleeing a law enforcement officer, malicious mischief, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Starkville School District Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas confirmed Thursday that he is employed at SHS.
Young was booked at 12:50 a.m. Sunday at Oktibbeha County Jail. The second and third of those charges are classified as felonies.
He was released at 8:29 p.m. that same day on a cumulative $12,403 bond for all charges. He paid $5,000 in fines for both his assault on an officer charge and fleeing law enforcement officer charge. Also, he posted $468 for both his disorderly conduct charge and his malicious mischief charge, $899 for his DUI charge’s bond and $568 for his resisting arrest charge.
Oktibbeha County Chief Deputy Chadd Garnett would not reveal what Young’s blood alcohol content measured at the time of his arrest, nor would he discuss the specifics of the other charges.
SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway said he was made aware of the situation Thursday and is in the process of evaluating it. Until he can gather all information, he said, he would hesitate to say when an update on Young will be available.
“We have standards of ethics listed in our personnel handbook and general statements on behavior in the community, but they’re not specific,” Holloway said. “Every time we look at behavior of professional personnel, we would have to look at it individually.”
Holloway said as of Thursday he had not yet held a formal conference with any administrators but had spoken to employees on the phone.
He said in nearly 30 years of experience as a school superintendent in several districts, he has had to assess multiple personnel issues of similar magnitude in regard to teachers accused of criminal activity.
“The teachers are under an annual contract where their rights cannot be taken away without due process,” Holloway said. “This means they have a right to a public hearing. They have a right to produce evidence. They have a right to call witnesses and present their case before the school board.”
Holloway said the issue of utmost importance to SSD is that its employees set a respectable example of daily conduct for pupils to model themselves after.
“Any arrest report of an employee, we take very seriously,” he said. “It is important for us that our teachers are good role models for students. It’s a high standard, but teachers absolutely have to be good role models.”