The Shelby County Board of Education says a teacher and band director at Oak Mountain Middle School has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse.
The BOE names the teacher as 38-year-old Jeffrey Scott Atkins of Alabaster, and says he has been placed on administrative leave by the school district as it conducts an investigation into the charges.
The Shelby County BOE contacted Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, March 28, requesting help in an investigation of possible inappropriate contact between Atkins and a student, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
“Investigators determined that communication between the teacher and the student using phone texts and social media outlets was sexual in nature,” the sheriff’s press release says.
Investigators tried to locate Atkins for questioning on Wednesday. They eventually found him and detained him in Montgomery County on Thursday, March 29.
“The charges against Mr. Atkins are allegations at this point. However, the allegations are of the upmost gravity in that they implicate unprofessional conduct by a teacher towards a student,” said Shelby County Superintendent Randy Fuller.
Atkins has been with Shelby County since 1999, the whole time at Oak Mountain Middle School. He has no prior incidents of misconduct and passed a criminal background check in October or 1999.
-3 counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree. Each count has a bond set at $100,000.
-1 count of Enticing a Child to Enter a Vehicle, House, etc., for Immoral Purposes. Bond set at $100,000.
-1 count of Electronic Solicitation of a Child. Bond set at $150,000.
-1 count of School Employee having Sexual Contact with a student Under the Age of 19 Years. Bond set at $5,000.
Atkins’ total bond is set at $555,000. He is currently in the Shelby County Jail.
According to a bio page for “Jeff Atkins–Director of Middle School Bands” on the Oak Mountain Middle School band website, Atkins is married with three children and actively involved in music ministry at Riverside Baptist Church. His bio also says he graduated from the University of Alabama, played in the Million Dollar Band and also worked as a teacher at Shelby Academy, Bottenfield Jr. High School, and Minor High School.
In a release about the arrest, Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry urges parents to vigilantly check their children’s phones, computers and social media accounts for any type of inappropriate contact or activity.
“This case, while still under investigation, reaffirms how carefully we have to guard our children and protect them from the perils of this world,” Curry said.
Oak Mountain Middle School Principal Larry Haynes addressed parents in an email late today, explaining that the school was notified of the allegations against Atkins on March 28 and turned that information over to authorities. He says in the email that Oak Mountain Middle School and area counselors will be on hand to speak with students on Monday.
Source : myfoxal