August 23, 2014
Here in my home town of Newnan, Georgia something terribly bad has happened to an educator. He has been accused of possessing less than an ounce marijuana. Now that doesn’t seem like such a big deal. I mean we’re talking about a misdemeaner charge here. He wasn’t charged with distribution, just had a very small amount found in his home.
The story in the Newnan Times-Herald in a piece written by Celia Shortt:
Johnny Holloway, the former chorus teacher at Evans Middle School, had less than one ounce of marijuana in his possession when police searched his home, according to the police report.
Newnan Police Deputy Chief Rodney Riggs said during the week of Aug. 17, Newnan Police officers “developed information” that Holloway was in possession of marijuana at his residence. The police department obtained a search warrant on Monday and executed it around 1 p.m. that day.resigned from his job based on accusations that he was involved in illegal drug possesion.
Newnan Police Deputy Chief Rodney Riggs said during the week of Aug. 17, Newnan Police officers “developed information” that Holloway was in possession of marijuana at his residence. The police department obtained a search warrant on Monday and executed it around 1 p.m. that day.
According to Riggs, less than once ounce of marijuana was found at Holloway’s home. Holloway was not there at the time of the search, and an arrest warrant was issued for him possessing less than one ounce of marijuana, which is a misdemeanor.
Holloway resigned from the school system on Monday.
In a letter sent home to parents of Evans Middle School students, Coweta County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker said the school system had recently heard concerns from parents and students about Holloway’s professional conduct, “including the potential use of illegal substances.”
“Following his resignation, Mr. Holloway was charged on Tuesday for possession of marijuana,” said Barker. “Because this matter is still under investigation, we cannot comment further at this time. We regret this has occurred.”
Well as you might imagine, Mr Holloway has quite a following of support. Most of the comments in the Times-Herald story are a display of shock and disbelief that Mr Holloway was arrested. People are confused as to why his home was searched after he resigned. There are many unanswered questions surrounding this case and folks will just have to wait until the investigation is over to find out what exactly happened.
Now when you read the letter from the Coweta County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker, it leads one to believe that it was no secret to at least a few parents and students that Mr Holloway might have been doing something unethical. This leads me to believe there may have been an investigation already going on leading up to his arrest.
Lets just suppose that the drug investigators received a tip that Mr Holloway was participating in some illegal drug activity. Based on what we already know in the letter from the School Superintendent, several parents and students had expressed concerns about Holloway’s conduct. Maybe he was getting high with one or more students. We just don’t know yet. What I do know is that law enforcment will not execute a search warrant on a residence unless a judge is convinced it will result in an arrest. So lets say maybe was a CI was involved. A confidential informant, working for the police, that was with Holloway in his home and witnessed the marijuana and knew there would be drugs in the house on a particular day. Maybe he was selling to students and on the day of the search they only found a small amount. Maybe Holloway was outed by someone at the school that he was under suspicion and he was asked to resign. There are a whole lot of maybes and everyone has their own ideas of what really happened.
I think I have a fairly good idea what may have happened. If I’m right, then many of Holloways supporters are going to be left hurt and confused and very disappointed. Here are two simple scenarios that I believe may have happened:
Holloway was involved in casual marijuana use with one or more students over a period of time. No harm intended. He got a little too careless. People began to talk and it eventually got the attention of school officials. The school notified the resource officer, who in turn reported the information to the drug task force. A student came forward and admitted to being with Mr Holloway in his home while marijuana was present. This person, the confidential informant, reported back to investigators and a search warrant was issued.
On the Monday prior to the warrant being served, Holloway was brought before school officials and was asked to take a drug test. In fear of being tested positive and getting fired, he chose to resign. Meanwhile, investigators were preparing for the warrant and quite possibly the school was unaware that Holloway was going to be arrested on Tuesday.
Another possibility is that Mr Holloway’s vehicle had been recorded as being a frequent visitor to known drug houses. Did you know that if your vehicle is seen visiting a house that is under investigation for illegal drugs your tag is recorded? Maybe something as simple as that got him in trouble. He may even have been video taped by undercover agents buying marijuana.
The bottom line here is that Holloway got caught in possession of a small amount of marijuana and now his reputation has been smeared. People are crying that he was set up, it was unfair, or any number of other excuses for his behavior. It does not matter how good a teacher he was, what matters is that Mr Holloway made some pretty bad choices in his life and now he is faced with the consequences of those choices. Students who looked up to this teacher may learn a valuable lesson when this is all over. A lesson on how important it is to make the right decisions and how the consequences of those decisions can affect the rest of your life.
On a side note. I personally believe that casual use of marijuana should be legal. Alcohol kills more people and its use destroys more families than marijuana ever has. Alcohol is the true gateway drug, not marijuana. It most certainly should be legalized for medical use. Until the laws in the state of Georgia are passed legalizing it’s use, I will continue to support our law enforcement community in their actions. We are a country of laws, and just because you’re a nice guy and everyone likes you doesn’t give you a pass when it comes to breaking the law and violating the trust of children that look up to you as a role model.-JRoycroft