Winning football coach could be fired after $10,000 goes missing

A winning Atlanta high school football coach could face termination after an investigation found thousands of dollars missing or unaccounted for from school accounts, and aggressive confrontations just short of fist fights with a parent and a school visitor.

The allegations led to clashes between supporters who saw Mays High School’s Corey Jarvis as a role model for male students and the “savior” of the football program, and critics who thought he shouldn’t be working with students.

Atlanta Public Schools found more than $10,000 belonging to the football team unaccounted for, according to a report completed this week. That includes more than $6,000 in football receipts recorded by Jarvis that were unable to be traced and more than $4,000 collected by him.

The district also found that Jarvis engaged in “heated verbal altercations” with critics. However, it found no evidence of another allegation, that he mistreated the children of parents who spoke out against him.

A lawyer who has represented Jarvis in connection with the allegations did not return calls from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday.

The investigation found that in one case, Jarvis told the Mays football booster club president, who had questioned how Jarvis handled football funds, “If you’re so unhappy, why don’t you take your kids and go somewhere else.” In another case, Jarvis appeared to challenge a school volunteer who had criticized him, walking up to him on the school’s campus and telling him “Next time I see you it’s not going to be on school grounds.” In both cases, school staff physically restrained Jarvis.

The report recommends firing Jarvis, who is currently on paid administrative leave. Atlanta school officials said they will also refer his case to the state agency that oversees teacher licenses.

Mays principal Richard Fowler received a letter of reprimand in connection with the incidents, Atlanta chief schools officer Donyall Dickey said. Four other district employees were investigated in connection with the allegations. None were disciplined, Dickey said.

The district report also found numerous violations of financial policies at Mays. A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found similar problems districtwide, with money collected from Atlanta students for class dues, sports fees, field trips and fundraisers missing and district financial oversight so lax that the district can’t say whether the money was stolen or just lost.

Jarvis’ supporters have rallied behind him. School board member Steven Lee said at a January community meeting, “As a parent, I support the structure of the football program as it stands.”

At the same meeting, Mays alumni praised Jarvis for winning games and helping students win college scholarships.

Top district officials were scheduled to meet with the parents of Mays football team members Wednesday evening to discuss the program’s future. “I believe that we can work together to come up with a plan for a path forward,” Dickey said.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.