There was no specific written policy for DeKalb County School District officials to consider when pondering whether Roy McClendon-Thompson, 42, could resume teaching while on bond on charges of stealing $100,000 from his church.
They allowed McClendon-Thompson, 42, back in his McNair High School classroom on March 27, to teach three more days before spring break.
At 6:23 a.m. the morning of April 8, McClendon-Thompson called an automated system to request a substitute to cover his classes. An hour earlier, Dunwoody Police said, he had fatally shot his boyfriend.
“When the district becomes aware that an educator has been charged with a crime, the Office of Legal Affairs reviews the nature of the crime, the facts and circumstances, and makes a determination on what, if any, action should be taken regarding the employee’s employment status until resolution of the charge,” district officials said in a statement.
McClendon-Thompson was arrested at McNair High School on March 21 and charged with theft by taking and financial transaction card theft from Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta, where he had served part-time as chief financial officer. A church secretary told police McClendon-Thompson made multiple withdrawals totaling $103,843.30 from church accounts between November 2015 and April 2018, depositing the money into personal accounts.
McClendon-Thompson was booked into the Fulton County Jail on March 21 and released two days later after posting $15,000 bond.
“He reported to the Office of Legal Affairs on March 27, 2019, and returned to work on March 27, 2019,” DeKalb County School District officials said.
District officials point out its professional personnel ethics policy, which dictates that an educator “abide by federal, state and local laws and statutes,” and lists unethical conduct as including “the commission or conviction of a felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude.” It does not give guidance for when an employee is charged with a crime but has not yet had a trial.
If there is no written policy for handling a teacher who has been charged with a crime, DeKalb County Board of Education member Vickie Turner said, “There seem to be some gaps in our process.”
Tuesday afternoon, parents were divided on whether McClendon-Thompson should have been allowed to resume teaching following the theft charges.
“First crime, he should not have been allowed to come back,” Idus Christmas said, waiting for his teenage daughters outside the school. “That’s not right. He should have just been suspended. It shouldn’t have come to this.”
Shawn Walker said she believes the church crime should have no bearing on his standing as a teacher.
“If he was a good teacher and he was doing a good job, why not” let him continue teaching after the charges, she said.
Parent Latoya Jackson agreed.
“How do you know it’s true if you don’t have all the facts?” she said.
Investigators quickly identified McClendon-Thompson as the suspect on April 8 after James Curtis Jones was found dead in the parking lot of the Arrive Perimeter apartments around 5:20 a.m., police said. He had been shot in the chest.
At 6:23 a.m. thatday, McClendon-Thompson requested a substitute for his social studies classes at McNair High School, the district said Thursday. While classes continued, McClendon-Thompson allegedly fled from his Ellenwood home, where police had gone to speak with him.
After driving only a few miles, McClendon-Thompson struck another vehicle head-on in Clayton County, according to police. The 42-year-old died at the scene of the crash.
According to investigators, McClendon-Thompson and Jones had been dating after meeting online. But in recent days, McClendon Thompson had learned Jones was cheating on him.
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