GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Authorities say an investigation has been opened over allegations that a former Greene County teacher sent inappropriate text messages to a former student.
That investigation surrounds Rowdy Jones, a former biology teacher at Chuckey-Doak High School.
Kelsey Garber is a 16-year-old former student at Chuckey-Doak who had Jones as her biology teacher. She’s now being homeschooled so that she can take care of her sick grandmother.
“He kind of treated me like a class pet, so me and him were kind of close just because everybody has their favorite teachers,” Garber said. “He was just kind of a role model and then he sent me messages like that. It just wasn’t right.”
She says Jones started sending her Snapchat messages weeks after she left the school. In those messages, the former teacher claimed he was intoxicated and missed her.
“He asked me if I was trying to ‘get it’…talking about sex,” Garber said. “It just made me feel nasty even though I didn’t do anything wrong because there’s no reason he, as a grown man, should have been texting students like that.”
In one message, Garber says Jones wrote about not going to prison.
“I was angry because I’m not the first girl that he messaged,” she said. “There’s a lot of young girls that he messaged.”
Garber’s mother, Jamie Greene, says she called the Greene County Sheriff’s Department on the night of January 13th, the night her daughter first received the messages. A deputy read the messages and suggested she speak with a detective.
But according to Greene, the detective called her back Thursday morning and told her charges couldn’t be pressed.
“He told me that the DA decided not to go through with it because there was not enough evidence to prosecute that the case was over,” Greene said.
District Attorney General Dan Armstrong says an investigation is underway but it’s still in the early stages.
“I have not had any conversation with the mother of the alleged victim. An allegation has been made and an investigation is open,” Armstrong said. “I have not had any contact with the principal but I did speak with an investigator earlier today.”
According to a report filed with the Tennessee Board of Education, Jones resigned the day after the allegations were made. The reason listed in the report: “inappropriate communications with a student that is non-explicit.”
“Rowdy is no longer with us,” said Director of Schools David McLain. “When allegations were brought, he resigned.”
News Channel 11 reached out to Jones, who declined to speak on camera but did issue a statement.
“I apologize for the unfortunate situation,” Jones said. “I will not be returning to teaching, and as for my next steps am currently in therapy and cooperating with officials.”
Garber’s mother says she has heard from other former classmates who say they’ve also received inappropriate messages. She wants charges filed against Jones and plans to meet with the detective in the case on Friday.
“I would like to see charges placed. I would like to see him on a registry to where he could never work with kids again,” Greene said.
Kelsey’s mom also told News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel she’s heard from other former classmates who say they’ve received inappropriate messages.
She plans to meet with the detective in the case Friday.