By Barbara Augsdorfer, Editor for the Effingham Herald
“Acted quickly” and “brave students” are two phrases used to describe what happened May 18 that led to the dismissal and arrest of Tony Davis, 22, a substitute teacher from a fifth-grade classroom at Guyton Elementary School.
“He made inappropriate comments something to the effect of wanting to murder somebody,” Guyton Police Chief James Breletic said. “There's a rumor that he may have been twirling a pair of scissors that were sharp.” Breletic added they’re still following up on that assertion along with obtaining statements from the students.
According to Breletic, when the class was on a break, three of the students told another teacher what Davis had said. That teacher then reported to Greg Manior, the principal, who then went to the classroom to confront Davis.
Breletic continued, “No kids were in the classroom. The principal asked the young man, ‘Hey, did you say this?’ he says, ‘yeah.’ He (Manior) says, ‘You got to get your stuff. You're going to have to leave’.” Manior escorted Davis to the front office with the SRO.
Davis was interviewed by Guyton Police and arrested on May 22 for misdemeanor terrorist threats. Breletic added it’s hard to determine exactly what Davis said that scared the students, but that the police take every threat seriously.
The police chief added they’re also investigating rumors that Davis was previously asked to leave two other schools.
In a statement released to parents, Manior said, “After the individual left campus, I went back to the classroom to let the students know that they are safe and that they will never see this individual at our school again.”
“The safety of our students and staff are very important to us. I am thankful that when Mr. Manior was made aware of the situation; he acted quickly to ensure the boys and girls and staff at GES were kept safe,” Effingham County Schools Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford said in a statement to the Herald.
“Mr. Manior immediately notified the SRO on campus. I am thankful to our students who were brave to tell another caring adult on campus of the situation. That is a testament to the training and guidance the staff and families of GES have given to the students. The gentleman is no longer a substitute within the district,” Ford’s statement concluded.
Effingham County Schools obtains its pool of substitute teachers through Knoxville, Tennessee-based ESS, and the district trains the substitutes and performs background checks. According to Dr. Ford, the district human resources department is looking into Davis’ past work as a substitute teacher with the district.